Mavuba earns France recall

France coach Didier Deschamps sprung few surprises when announcing his squad for the two-legged World Cup play-off with Ukraine later this month.

Last Updated: 07/11/13 at 17:07 Post Comment

Rio Mavuba: Back in France squad

Rio Mavuba: Back in France squad

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A recall for Lille midfielder Rio Mavuba was the only significant amendment to the selection, with Deschamps happy to stick by the players that have impressed in recent times despite being beaten to automatic qualification for Brazil by reigning world and European champions Spain.

Deschamps named Manchester United defender Patrice Evra in his squad despite the full-back's recent controversial comments about a number of French media pundits - whom he labelled "tramps" and "parasites" - which earned him a reprimand from the French Football Federation.

The France coach refused to respond to repeated questions about Evra's inclusion on Thursday, telling a press conference: "I'm focused on the challenge ahead and so are my staff. There are many debates about a lot of subjects, but our attention should be focused on our objectives.

"You're free to start your debates, I'll leave them to you. Patrice Evra was available and I took the decision to pick him."

France are favourites for the tie with Ukraine and head into the double-header in searing form after hitting 13 goals in recent wins over Belarus, Australia and Finland.

Deschamps, however, has urged caution.

"It should not be thought that we are qualified before we are," he said. "Ukraine is a team that has quality and has had a series of very positive matches.

"This will not be simple. We must deal with it as best we can."

Les Bleus contest the first leg at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev on November 15 before the return at the Stade de France four days later.

France squad: Landreau (Bastia), Lloris (Tottenham), Mandanda (Marseille); Abidal (Monaco), Clichy (Manchester City), Debuchy (Newcastle), Evra (Manchester United), Koscielny, Sagna (both Arsenal), Sakho (Liverpool), Varane (Real Madrid), Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Pogba (Juventus), Sissoko (Newcastle), Grenier (Lyon), Nasri (Manchester City), Cabaye (Newcastle), Mavuba (Lille); Benzema (Real Madrid), Giroud (Arsenal), Payet, Valbuena (both Marseille), Ribery (Bayern Munich), Remy (Newcastle).

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