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Domenech calls up Henry in France squad

Domenech calls up Henry in France squad

France coach Raymond Domenech called up striker Thierry Henry for crucial World Cup qualifying matches against Romania and Serbia on Thursday but again decided to omit former captain Patrick Vieira.
France hosts Romania at Stade de France on Sept. 5 and plays Serbia in Belgrade four days later. The two games could decide whether France finishes in first place and qualifies directly for the 2010 World Cup.
"We are still in the qualification race and those two games are not easy," Domenech said during a presser. "We are in the last stretch and we have to perform well."
France has 13 points from six matches in Group 7, five points behind leader Serbia, which has played a game more.
Henry, France's record scorer with 48 goals in 111 games, missed the 1-0 win at the Faeroe Islands earlier this month due to an Achilles injury while Vieira was not called up for that game either.
Domenech said that he saw the former Arsenal striker play for Barcelona against Bilbao and that he had no reason to worry about his form. "I saw him sprinting, I'm reassured," he said.
Vieira has been hampered by injuries for the past two seasons. The combative midfielder, who started his international career in 1997, was given limited playing time last season by Inter coach Jose Mourinho and was disappointing during the 1-0 loss against Nigeria in June in a friendly.
Asked if his absence in the 23-man squad meant the end of Vieira's international career, Domenech said he still hoped that the 33-year-old player could return to his best form.
"He is a bit short now, but I hope that he will come back soon," Domenech said. "With his club he hasn't played a full game yet. And Pat needs to play."
Domenech selected Arsenal player Abou Diaby, seen by many observers as Vieira's natural heir. With only two caps, the versatile midfielder has still to gain a regular starting spot place in Domenech's team but has shown good form for Arsenal, scoring twice against Portsmouth last weekend in the Premier League.
Domenech again placed his faith in Bayern Munich star Frank Ribery, who has played only 30 minutes this season due to tendinitis in his knees.
"I know that Frank always wants to play. With him, the problem is to prevent him to doing too much too fast," Domenech said.
Domenech also called up his regular goalkeeping trio of Bordeaux's Cedric Carrasso, Hugo Lloris of Lyon and Steve Mandanda of Marseille.
Up front, Domenech is spoilt for choice, with Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka, Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, Andre-Pierre-Gignac of Toulouse _who scored the lone goal at the Faeroe Islands_ and Nice's Loic Remy all available along with Henry.
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France Squad
Goalkeepers: Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Julien Escude (Sevilla FC), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Rod Fanni (Rennes), William Gallas (Arsenal), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla FC)
Midfielders: Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Frank Ribery (Bayern)
Forwards: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Andre-Pierrre Gignac (Toulouse), Thierry Henry (Barcelona FC), Loic Remy (Nice)


Updated : 2021-08-05 13:49 GMT+08:00