Domenech goes for youth against Sweden

AFP
AFP Global Edition

Aug 11, 2008 20:00 EDT

France coach Raymond Domenech on Tuesday opted for youth over experience with veteran goalkeeper Gregory Coupet overlooked in the 20-man squad for a friendly against Sweden in Gothenburg on August 20.

The 35-year-old Coupet paid the price for his first team place not being assured in his new club Atletico Madrid and his mediocre performance at the European championships where he conceded six goals during their first round exit.

Rennes right back Rod Fanni and Yoann Gourcuff of Bordeaux have been given their first call-up.

Gourcuff has returned to France after a forgettable passage at AC Milan, who have loaned him to Bordeaux, while Fanni has been called in to fill the gap left by injured Bayern Munich defender Willy Sagnol and Lyon's Francois Clerc.

Midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa, who failed to make the grade for Euro 2008, has been recalled after his impressive start to the season with Marseille, as has defender Philippe Mexes, who benefits from the international retirement of Lilian Thuram.

Barcelona defender Eric Abidal, suspended for the first World Cup qualifier against Austria on September 6, and midfielder Samir Nasri and Fiorentina goalkeeper Sebastien Frey are also noteable absentees.

Domenech admitted that the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winners were now rebuilding following their disastrous Euro 2008.

"We know that we're in a period of transition with the end of a generation," said Domenech, who led France to second place in the 2006 World Cup.

"The young players who came (to the Euros) experienced the bad side of things. It will be useful for the future, they know what they have to do to avoid a repeat."

Domenech confirmed meanwhile that former international midfielder Alain Boghossian will be joining the French team coaching setup.

Boghossian, 37, who played for Marseille, as well as Italian sides Parma and Napoli, will join a staff which includes Pierre Mankowski, Domenech's right-hand man.

Mankowski retains his job but will share training sessions with Boghossian.

Domenech added: "With Sweden we're going to prepare the final two matches for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. We mustn't think of what will happen afterwards, of my role, otherwise how can we prevent the players from thinking about it as well."

France play a World Cup qualifier against Austria on September 6 and Serbia on September 10.

Goalkeepers: Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Hugo Lloris (Lyon)

Defenders: Jean-Alain Boumsong (Lyon), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal/ENG), William Gallas (Arsenal/ENG), Patrice Evra (Manchester United/ENG), Rod Fanni (Rennes), Philippe Mexes (AS Rome/ITA) Gael Clichy (Arsenal/ENG)

Midfielders: Mathieu Flamini (AC Milan/ENG), Lassana Diarra (Portsmouth/ENG), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon), Florent Malouda (Chelsea/ENG), Hatem Ben Arfa (Marseille), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Sidney Govou (Lyon)

Strikers: Thierry Henry (Barcelona/ESP), Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea/ENG), Karim Benzema (Lyon)

Source: AFP Global Edition