France manager Didier Deschamps has named influential winger Franck Ribery in his 23-man squad for Brazil despite serious doubts over his fitness.
The Bayern Munich player has been struggling with a back complaint, an injury that has plagued him for most of last season, and is unlikely to be ready for France’s group opener against Honduras on June 15.
Concern over Ribery’s potential participation has resulted in further calls for Deschamps to recall Samir Nasri to the national team but those pleas have been in vain.
Despite proving to be an influential factor in Manchester City’s Premier League winning side, Nasri was omitted from the provisional squad, with the France manager citing the importance of team harmony.
Gael Clichy is another notable omission as is Monaco’s Eric Abidal with Lucas Digne set to serve as understudy to Patrice Evra.
There appears to be several places up for grabs in Les Blues’ starting eleven, however goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris seems a certainty to be the French number one.
Deschamps will have a difficult selection decision to make when it comes to a centre-back partnership with a strong quartet of Laurent Koscielny, Mamadou Sakho, Raphaël Varane and Eliaquim Mangala to choose from.
Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba will be aiming to cement his reputation as one of Europe’s emerging talents and he will be joined in a three man midfield by Yohann Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi.
Real Sociedad winger Antoine Griezmann is likely to line up on the left side of attack. The 23 year old could be a player to watch out for as he netted an impressive 20 goals in 49 games last season for the Basque club.
France’s hopes will rely heavily on the availability of Ribery but there is significant strength in depth with QPR’s Loic Remy waiting in the wings.
There is serious competition for the lone centre forward role with both Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema in contention. Having won the Champions League with Real Madrid and displaying his best run of form in years, expect the latter to get the nod.
Les Tricolores had an uninspiring 1-1 draw with Paraguay at the weekend and they will wrap up their preparations for Brazil against Jamaica next Sunday.
With a group containing Honduras, Switzerland and Ecuador, the ’98 winners will be looking to at least make the knockout rounds but a second World Cup triumph looks beyond them.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Stephane Ruffier (St. Etienne) Mickaël Landreau (Bastia)
Defenders: Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United), Lucas Digne (PSG) Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (PSG), Clément Grenier (Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (PSG), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)
Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad), Loïc Rémy (Queens Park Rangers), Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich)
Extratime.ie will be covering the FIFA World Cup 2014 from the first kick of a ball to the last with reports and news. We will also have regular features from our reporter in Brazil – Macdara Ferris.