French trim squad but wait on Gallas

24 days to go

Raymond Domenech has trimmed his France squad down from 30 to 24 players, with the Arsenal defender William Gallas remaining the only question mark. The 32-year-old centre-back (below) has been struggling with a calf injury and his replacement, the uncapped Marc Planus, remained in the squad. The French have until 1 June to announce the final 23-man squad.

A Confederation of African Football pardon could allow Nadir Belhadj of Algeria and Aurélien Chedjou of Cameroon to play in their nation's opening matches. The suspended pair, who were dismissed during January's Africa Cup of Nations, must now wait to see whether the CAF decision will be ratified by Fifa. A statement by the CAF explained a general amnesty for all ongoing suspensions, except those imposed as a result of physical aggression against an official. The latter part of the statement appeared to be aimed at the Algeria goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi, who was banned for attempting to headbutt a referee in the same tournament.

The Australia coach coach, Pim Verbeek, has criticised the Middlesbrough manager, Gordon Strachan, for allowing full-back Rhys Williams to play for his club while injured. "Strachan should understand how important it is for a player to go to the World Cup," Verbeek said.

Highlights of the day

Quote of the day

"They're as hot as my personality. I will be on fire when I wear these." The Japan captain Yuki Nakazawa is backing himself to impress in South Africa with his new flame-coloured boots.



Pep talk of the day

"We cannot win the World Cup. We can surprise, but to win you need at least 20 very good players. We have inexperienced players not playing at the highest level. If you think you can win the World Cup with those players - not really." The Australia manager Pim Verbeek, fails to adopt the normal Aussie arrogance when discussing the Socceroos' chances of success in the tournament.



Dreamer of the day

"I have something historic in front of me, a once in a lifetime event, something many footballers never get to go to, and I am lucky enough to be going." - Valencia striker David Villa feels privileged to be representing Spain at the summer finals.

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