France coach Deschamps excludes Giroud from the squad again


Olivier Giroud of AC Milan reacts to the outcome of the Champions League Group B soccer match between Liverpool and AC Milan at Anfield, Liverpool, England on Wednesday September 15th, 2021. Liverpool won the match 3-2.  (AP Photo / Rui Vieira)

Olivier Giroud of AC Milan reacts to the outcome of the Champions League Group B soccer match between Liverpool and AC Milan at Anfield, Liverpool, England on Wednesday September 15th, 2021. Liverpool won the match 3-2. (AP Photo / Rui Vieira)

PA

France coach Didier Deschamps once again left out veteran striker Olivier Giroud on Thursday for the Nations League semi-final match against Belgium next week.

Giroud turned 35 on Thursday and is second on France’s all-time scorers list with 46 goals, just behind Thierry Henry’s record of 51.

But he fell out of favor with Deschamps.

The former Chelsea striker was also left out of the last squad and expressed his surprise last Sunday in a TV interview, saying Deschamps had not informed him before announcing the roster.

Giroud has scored two goals in five games for his new club, AC Milan.

Anthony Martial retains his place despite not having scored in six games for Manchester United this season.

But Martial scored in France’s 1-1 draw against Ukraine in a 2022 World Cup qualifier in early September.

France will face Belgium in Turin, in northern Italy next Thursday, with the winner facing either European champions Italy or Spain in the final.

Spain lost to Italy in the Euro 2020 semi-finals in July.

A rare sight in football could see brothers Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich) and Theo Hernandez (AC Milan) line up together against Belgium in defense and midfield.

“It hasn’t happened for a long time, I think the last time was the Revelli brothers (Hervé and Patrick) in the early 1970s,” Deschamps said. “I will not consider them as two brothers but as two players.”

France beat Belgium in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals on their way to winning the tournament for the second time.

“They are one of the best teams in the world right now,” Deschamps said.

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France:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mike Maignan (AC Milan), Benoit Costil (Bordeaux).

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Leo Dubois (Lyon), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Jules Kounde (Seville), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich), Raphaël Varane (Manchester United).

Midfielder: Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurélien Tchouameni (Monaco), Jordan Veretout (Rome).

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain).