By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) – Samir Nasri and Eric Abidal have been recalled by France coach Didier Deschamps for next week’s friendly game in Belgium.
Defender Abidal, who twice underwent surgery on a liver tumour, won the last of 61 caps in February, 2012.
“He has international experience in an area where players are injured or lack playing time,” Deschamps told a news conference on Thursday, referring to Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane and Paris St Germain’s Mamadou Sakho.
“I’m not here to offer a gift, I just think that he is competitive again having played pre-season games with Monaco.” Abidal has joined promoted Monaco from Barcelona.
Midfielder Nasri, who served a national team suspension for insulting a reporter and missed June’s South America tour with a knee injury, has not played for Les Bleus since last year’s Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat by Spain.
“Last season he was not really in the frame because he was injured and did not play a lot. He has to understand that he is in the frame,” said Deschamps.
Deschamps said he left out midfielders Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Yohan Cabaye for Wednesday’s game because they will be suspended for next month’s World Cup qualifier in Georgia.
Deschamps, however, called up one new face in Sevilla midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, who has just won the Under-20 World Cup with France.
“He’s been very good with Sevilla all season and he’s been good with the France team at the World cup in Turkey, too,” said Deschamps. “It’s an opportunity for him to discover the A team. He can bring a lot in midfield.”
St Etienne’s Josuha Guilavogui, who won his two caps against Brazil and Uruguay in June, is also expected to play in midfield at the Roi Baudoin stadium.
After playing Belgium, France travel to Georgia on Sept 6 and Belarus four days later before hosting Finland in their last three World Cup qualifiers.
Second-placed Les Bleus, who trail Group I leaders Spain by one point, appear on course for a playoff spot as they lead third-placed Finland by four points.
Goalkeepers: Mickael Landreau (Bastia), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille)
Defenders: Eric Abidal (Monaco), Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto), Adil Rami (Valencia), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Clement Grenier (Olympique Lyonnais), Josuha Guilavogui (St Etienne), Geoffrey Kondogbia (Sevilla), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United)
Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Samir Nasri (Manchester City), Dimitri Payet (Olympique Marseille), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille)