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Yuri

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The French Football Federation has suspended all 23 members of France's World Cup squad for their next game.

More to follow.

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France have sensationally suspended all 23 members of their World Cup squad for their next game.

New Les Bleus coach Laurent Blanc has requested that none of the 23-man squad that represented France in South Africa be called up for the friendly against Norway next month.

France endured a disastrous World Cup failing to win any of their three games and crashing out at the first hurdle.

The squad also staged a strike by walking out on training in protest to the treatment of team-mate Nicolas Anelka, who was sent home after a bust-up with former coach Raymond Domenech during the second group match against Mexico.

There were also reports of infighting in the squad between players and management.

The actions of the players came in for heavy criticism from the French Football Federation and former players, including Lilian Thuram.

Blanc, who will take charge for the first time against Norway in Oslo on 11th August, has asked the French Football Federation to suspend the players and the FFF have accepted the proposal.

The development is the latest in a long line of incidents to rock the 1998 World Cup winners as they look to bounce back from the disappointments of South Africa.

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France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has branded the squad's decision to go on strike during a World Cup training session as 'totally stupid'.

Les Bleus walked out of training at the tournament in South Africa this summer in protest to the treatment of team-mate Nicolas Anelka, who was sent home after a bust-up with former coach Raymond Domenech during the second group match.

The squad, who were eliminated from the competition at the group stage after failing to win a game, have since come under fire from French fans and politicians for their conduct.

And Lyon shot-stopper Lloris, the France No.1, has revealed his shame at the squad's behaviour, admitting they went 'way too far'.

"Going on strike was the decision of a group that felt isolated, that felt no one had protected it, and that wanted to get a message across," Lloris told L'Equipe.

"We went way too far. It was a clumsy decision, a big mistake. It was totally stupid."

Criticism

The incident has prompted much criticism in France, with former defender Lilian Thuram, now a French Football Federation council member, calling for some players, including captain Patrice Evra, never to play for the national team again.

And 23-year-old Lloris admits Les Bleus will have to work hard to rebuild their tarnished reputation.

"We acted more like a team in the bus than on the pitch," added Lloris.

"We all want to restore the image of Les Bleus. I'm not asking for us to win everything, just that we all make an effort, that we give everything.

"We need to get back to basics, respect for the jersey, for ourselves, our teammates and the institution that is the France team."

Lloris, who has 14 international caps to his name, stopped short of blaming Domenech for France's World Cup failure, but accepted the team continually fell short under his reign.

Laurent Blanc has succeeded Domenech as coach as the squad look to move on from the incident, and Lloris has acknowledged the players have an obligation "to make sure what happened in South Africa never happens again, that we don't self-destruct in that way ever again."

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Given the parameters Blanc has set himself, just what might be the composition of the France squad that travels to face Norway on August 11?

Goalkeepers

An outcast from les Bleus under Raymond Domenech, it would seem likely that Sebastien Frey will be one of the first players convened by Blanc, while Lille’s Mickael Landreau, who made the 30-man provisional squad for South Africa, should be another name called forth.

The third shot-stopper might be in-form Monaco man Sebastien Ruffier — though he was present when the players went on strike at the World Cup and may be tarred as the ‘24th player’, despite playing no apparent role in proceedings that day. Otherwise, Auxerre’s Olivier Sorin had a formidable record last season.

Defence

There is an abundance of exciting full-backs in France, so the loss of Bacary Sagna and Patrice Evra will be surprisingly brushed off. Girondins de Bordeaux pair Matthieu Chalme and Benoit Tremoulinas will surely both be called, with the latter battling Aly Cissoko for the left-back berth. Additionally, Atletico Madrid target Rod Fanni could challenge for a spot on the right of the defence.

In the centre of defence there is depth, but it is not of the same quality. Philippe Mexes would surely be the first name on the teamsheet, and he could be joined by the likes of Julien Escude, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Michael Ciani and Adil Rami. Even youngster Mamadou Sakho is pushing towards this level.

Midfield

Equally, the midfield provides a competitive battleground, emphasising that no one in the squad should take their position for granted. In the anchoring roles, Lassana Diarra, who only missed out on the South Africa squad due to injury, should form the energetic presence in front of the defence. There are a number of players who could legitimately partner him.

Arguably the best from a defensive viewpoint would be Toulouse’s Etienne Capoue, though teenager Yann M’Vila was preferred by Domenech to be named in the 30-man provisional unit.

For a more energetic box-to-box presence, look no further than Moussa Sissoko, who, at 20 years old, already has international experience and continues to attract covetous glances from some of Europe’s largest sides. Or, if a more refined player is what’s desired, Benoit Cheyrou would be a fine selection.

Further up the field, Benoit Pedretti, who was outstanding for Auxerre last season but who has been in the international wilderness for five years, could be a candidate for the No.10 role, though Samir Nasri is the obvious player for that spot.

Wide on the right, Loic Remy deserves recognition for his exploits with Nice over the last couple of years, though he could be hampered by the drawn-out process of his move from les Aiglons to the Premier League. Jimmy Briand, who moved to Lyon from Rennes earlier this season, should be considered sufficient back-up.

Replacing Franck Ribery on the left is perhaps a little more problematic. Hatem Ben Arfa should certainly be considered a candidate, while France’s other outstanding left-sided players are a little on the young side. Saint-Etienne’s Dimitri Payet was one of the few Verts to impress regularly last season but is perhaps not quite at international level, while Franck Tabanou and Karim Ait-Fana would have to take a big step up from the Under-21 side.

Attack

The sole attacking position would logically go to Karim Benzema, but events off the field in recent days may render him unavailable for the national side in early August, posing Blanc some questions.

The top-scoring Frenchman in Ligue 1 last season, Kevin Gameiro, certainly deserves a crack at the very top level as he has been superb over the last two campaigns.

Louis Saha, when fit, remains a potent force and would be an excellent selection, while Bafetimbi Gomis would likely become third choice almost by default.

So despite the self-imposed cull, France should still be able to field an impressive unit — and at the same time allow Blanc to cast his eye over several of his fringe players, buying him valuable time as he makes the tricky decision about how to cope with the rebellious and disunited squad.

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