The Real Madrid forward, widely considered to be the best French striker of his generation, has not appeared for Les Bleus since November 2015 due to his suspected involvement in a sex tape scandal. After being left out of France’s Euro 2016 squad as a result, Benzema, who is of Algerian descent, accused Deschamps of bowing to racist pressure.
“We met, we spoke at length, I then thought very hard and came to make this decision,” Deschamps said of his decision. “I needed this chat, he needed this chat. I don’t want to make this a specific case. As national team boss, I have always look beyond my personal case. My responsibility is important, but it is bigger than me.”
France are favourites to lift the trophy at Wembley in July after their glorious 2018 World Cup campaign and boast a star-studded squad featuring the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, Ousmane Dembele, Raphael Varane and N’Golo Kante.
“It would be incredible to do the double,” Mbappe said at a press conference. “We will take from the experience of 2018 to be ourselves.”
Squad in full
Goalkeepers: Lloris, Mandanda, Maignan
Defenders: Dubois, Pavard, Zouma, Koundé, Varane, Lenglet, Kimpembe, Digne, L.Hernandez
Midfielders: Kanté, Pogba, Rabiot, Tolisso, Sissoko
Forwards: Benzema, Giroud, Mbappé, Thuram, Coman, Ben Yedder, Griezmann, Lemar, O.Dembélé
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