France manager Raymond Domenech announced his initial World Cup squad to raised eyebrows as he chose to omit Karim Benzema and Patrick Vieira. Vieira would perhaps have been lucky to get the nod, but he laid into Domenech for a perceived lack of class as he found out about his non-selection from Canal+ rather than from the man himself. Benzema hasn't been firing on all cylinders in La Liga with Real Madrid, but he has to be this generation's best player and he has performed for Les Bleus in the past.
Thierry Henry does make the cut despite playing only a peripheral role for Barcelona this season, while the four goalkeepers are all quality and the one who misses out will rightly consider himself unlucky. Franck Ribéry is in despite his off-field issues while André-Pierre Gignac's indifferent club form is overlooked as his recent performances for France have been exceptional. He's one player who has improved under Domenech. There's a bit of a surprise call-up for Rennes' midfielder Yann M'Vila who has snuck in under the radar a little.
There are plenty of the English-based contingent including champions Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka while three of Marseille's successful side make the cut. It's a strong squad that will probably do well in spite of Domenech rather than because of him.
The squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Mickael Landreau (Lille), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Rod Fanni (Rennes), William Gallas (Arsenal), Marc Planus (Bordeaux), Adil Rami (Lille), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla)
Midfielders: Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Yann M'Vila (Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon)
Forwards: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Hatem Ben Arfa (Marseille), Jimmy Briand (Rennes), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille).