Patrice Evra omitted from France squad

France left back Patrice Evra was omitted from the squad for next week's friendly against Brazil despite having served a five-match ban for his infamous World Cup walkout.

French Minister of Sport Chantal Jouanno had said Evra should not be picked irrespective of the French Football Federation suspension expiring and the decision means the Manchester United player's international future is in doubt.

Coach Laurent Blanc, however, said he had left out Evra for sporting reasons.

"It's a position where there is a lot of competition and the performances of Eric Abidal especially in the last few matches have dictated my decision," Blanc told a news conference.

World Cup captain Evra led a boycott of a training session in South Africa last June in support of now banished striker Nicolas Anelka, who had been sent home from the finals for insulting then-coach Raymond Domenech. France went out early.

Apart from Anelka, who is doubtful to play for France ever again given his 18-match ban, Evra was the last of the sanctioned players waiting to be reintegrated.

Arsenal centre back Laurent Koscielny has received his first callup for Wednesday's match at the Stade de France but otherwise Blanc has largely stuck with the squad which has enjoyed a mini-resurgence since the World Cup.

Creative midfielder Yoann Gourcuff was included despite questionable recent displays for Olympique Lyon and AS Roma's in-form playmaker Jeremy Menez has returned.

There was no place for Jeremy Toulalan or Dimitri Payet while forward Franck Ribery was unavailable through injury.

France are top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group D with nine points and next visit Luxembourg on March 25.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux).

Defenders: Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Philippe Mexes (AS Roma), Adil Rami (Lille), Mamadou Sakho (Paris St Germain), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Yohan Cabaye (Lille), Yoann Gourcuff (Lyon), Yann M'Vila (Rennes), Blaise Matuidi (Saint-Etienne).

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kevin Gameiro (Lorient), Guillaume Hoarau (PSG), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Loic Remy (Marseille), Jeremy Menez (AS Roma).

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