Benzema back for France but Martial misses out on Euro 2020 squad

By Sports Desk May 18, 2021

Karim Benzema has received a sensational recall to the France squad for Euro 2020, over five years since he last represented his country.

The Real Madrid striker scored twice in a 4-0 win over Armenia in October 2015, taking his tally to 27 international goals. 

Benzema then became embroiled in a blackmail scandal involving Les Bleus team-mate Mathieu Valbuena in the weeks after that game and has been subsequently overlooked by national team boss Didier Deschamps, despite his outstanding form at club level.

However, the 33-year-old - who has scored 29 goals in all competitions for Madrid this season - is undoubtedly the eye-catching name in France's 26-man party for the upcoming tournament, adding further depth up front for the reigning world champions.

"We met, we spoke at length, I then thought very hard and came to make this decision," Deschamps said of the decision to bring Benzema back in from the cold.

"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."

There is also a place for Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram, as well as Sevilla defender Jules Kounde.

Anthony Martial, however, misses out due to fitness concerns. The forward suffered a knee injury while playing for France in March, though could make a return to action for Manchester United before the end of the season.

"Anthony Martial would have been here but he is not available. His condition does not allow it," Deschamps revealed during a press conference.

Teenage midfielder Eduardo Camavinga - heavily linked with Madrid - is another notable absentee, along with Rennes team-mate Steven Nzonzi. There is also no place for Madrid left-back Ferland Mendy.

France will play friendly fixtures against Wales and Bulgaria ahead of the delayed European Championship, which was pushed back a year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Deschamps' side start their Group F campaign against Germany on June 15, followed four days later by a clash with Hungary. They complete their round-robin campaign on June 23 by taking on Portugal, the nation who defeated them in the Euro 2016 final in Paris.


France squad: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Mike Maignan (Lille); Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Leo Dubois (Lyon), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Clement Lenglet (Barcelona), Jules Kounde (Sevilla), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Lucas Digne (Everton); N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid); Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona).
 

Related items

  • Juventus 1-0 Lazio: Bremer sends embattled Bianconeri to Coppa Italia semi-finals Juventus 1-0 Lazio: Bremer sends embattled Bianconeri to Coppa Italia semi-finals

    Juventus cast aside their recent woes to tee up an enticing Coppa Italia semi-final against Inter on Thursday as Gleison Bremer's first-half header guided them to a 1-0 win against Lazio.

    The Coppa Italia appears to represent Juve's best chance of silverware this season after a 15-point deduction ended their slim Serie A title hopes, and the hosts were good value for their win after dominating for long periods.

    Massimiliano Allegri's men missed two good chances before hitting the front on the stroke of half-time, with Bremer flicking Filip Kostic's inch-perfect delivery home.

    Juve were rarely troubled at the other end as Maurizio Sarri's visitors disappointed in the final third, and they will face their Derby d'Italia rivals across two legs in the last four after this routine win.

    Kostic drew a fingertip save from Luis Maximiano as Juve got on top after a tight opening to the contest, before Adrien Rabiot headed straight at the goalkeeper when left unmarked just before the half-hour mark.

    The Bianconeri made their pressure count one minute before the break as Bremer met Kostic's inswinging cross with a glancing header, which beat Maximiano to nestle in the bottom-left corner.

    Luis Alberto saw a long-range strike deflect narrowly over as Lazio improved following the half-time introduction of Pedro, while Danilo Cataldi worked Mattia Perin with a 25-yard free-kick.

    Juve substitute Moise Kean forced Maximiano into action at his near post following a rapid break with 20 minutes remaining, as the hosts looked to put the game to bed.

    Adam Marusic fizzed a long-range effort wide of the bottom-right corner as Lazio continued to hunt a leveller, but that was as close as they came to breaking down a resolute Juve backline.

  • Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia: Asensio and Vinicius propel Los Blancos to victory Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia: Asensio and Vinicius propel Los Blancos to victory

    Vinicius Junior marked his 200th Real Madrid appearance in style with the second goal in a 2-0 win against Valencia.

    The Brazilian burst into space from inside his own half to double Los Blancos' lead, just 90 seconds after Marco Asensio's stunning strike opened the scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    Madrid, having failed to score on Sunday against Real Sociedad, encountered similar frustration in the first half and saw an Antonio Rudiger header disallowed juts before half-time.

    That did not deter Carlo Ancelotti's side, who responded in style in a second period where Valencia finished with 10 men after Gabriel Paulista's dismissal.

    It took just three minutes for Madrid to carve through Valencia's defence, Luka Modric feeding a pass through to Asensio but a fine save from the boot of Giorgi Mamardashvili kept him at bay.

    Asensio had another chance after Karim Benzema's deft backheel into his path inside the area but Gabriel was on hand with an outstanding block to deflect the strike safely over the crossbar.

    Los Blancos thought they had found their breakthrough on the brink of half-time, Rudiger flicking a header in off the right-hand post, but referee Javier Alberola Rojas chalked the effort off for a foul from Benzema on Yunus Musah as Modric's corner was whipped in.

    Six minutes after the restart, the hosts finally broke the deadlock. It was third-time lucky for Asensio, who picked up possession outside the box and unleashed a ferocious left-footed drive that left Mamardashvili stranded.

    The lead was doubled just 90 seconds later, Vinicius bursting into space down the left and driving into the area and slotting a comfortable finish beneath the Valencia stopper.

    Valencia's problems got worse when Gabriel was given his marching orders for a horrendous hack on compatriot Vinicius, who was fortunate to avoid injury.

  • Nottingham Forest sign free agent Andre Ayew Nottingham Forest sign free agent Andre Ayew

    Nottingham Forest have completed the signing of Ghana international Andre Ayew on a free transfer.

    The 33-year-old forward becomes the club's 30th signing since the end of last season, and was able to join after the closure of the January transfer window as he had been a free agent.

    Ayew, who had also been linked with a move to Everton, has penned a deal with the Premier League side until the end of the campaign.

    After leaving Qatari side Al Sadd, Ayew returns for his second spell in English football, having spent time at Swansea City and West Ham between 2015 and 2021.

    Ayew is reunited with manager Steve Cooper, who previously worked with him at Swansea.

    "It's a great feeling to sign for Nottingham Forest," he told the club's website after his signing was confirmed on Thursday.

    "I know how big the club is, and I know how much the club means to the city and the fanbase. It's always been difficult whenever I've played against Forest and at The City Ground and I love the stadium.

    "Steve Cooper is someone who knows me very well and knows how to work with me both on and off the pitch. We have a strong relationship, he's a special coach and a special human being and someone who I really look up to.

    "I know what I can bring to the team, I'm ready to give my all and make sure that we are able to stay in the Premier League."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.