Domenech reduces France World Cup squad to 24
France coach Raymond Domenech has cut his World Cup squad to 24 men, taking an extra player to a training camp in case Arsenal defender William Gallas doesn't recover from a calf injury in time.
Domenech cut six players from the 30-man provisional squad he announced last week, dropping goalkeeper Mickael Landreau, defenders Adil Rami and Rod Fanni, midfielders Hatem Ben Arfa and Yann M'Vila, and striker Jimmy Briand.
"This is my fate, life goes on," Rami told French radio RTL. "I just need to redouble my efforts, to work and to support 'Les Bleus.' That's what I have to do."
Landreau and Ben Arfa were also cut before the 2008 European Championship, where France crashed out in the first round.
Domenech said Sunday that he won't take Gallas to the World Cup if the 32-year-old centre back is not fit by the end of May.
Coaches have until June 1 to cut their squad down to 23 for the tournament in South Africa.
Domenech is eager to avoid a repeat of the Euro 2008 fiasco, when he selected an injured Patrick Vieira in his squad only to see the midfielder sidelined for the whole tournament.
Gallas, a key defender for France, arrived Saturday in the French Alps resort of Tignes to work on his fitness with Dr. Robert Duverne. The rest of the squad will arrive in Tignes on Tuesday.
Domenech, who will step aside after the World Cup, kept two uncapped players in his squad: Bordeaux defender Marc Planus and Marseille winger Mathieu Valbuena, who had an outstanding season with the French champions.
While Valbuena is almost certain to be part of the trip to South Africa, Planus is likely to be dropped if Gallas recovers in time. Gallas scored the goal against Ireland last year that qualified France for the World Cup.
"I'm really proud. My goal is now to be part of the 23-man squad," Planus said. "I know that one player will be disappointed, but I'm already very happy to go to Tignes."
Domenech kept the three goalkeepers he regularly called up over the past two years: Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda and Cedric Carrasso. He also kept faith in Sebastien Squillaci despite the Sevilla defender having physical problems this year.
After cutting veteran midfielder Patrick Vieira from his provisional squad, Domenech retained Arsenal's Abou Diaby, a player with the same combative qualities as the former France captain.
Following a friendly against Costa Rica on May 26 at Lens, the French players will travel to the town of Sousse before playing Tunisia in Rades on May 30.
France will then fly to Reunion island in the Indian Ocean to face China in June. France will start its World Cup campaign against Uruguay on June 11.
Former World Cup winner Laurent Blanc, who quit as Bordeaux coach on Sunday, is set to replace Domenech after the tournament.
France's 24-man roster
Goalkeepers: Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille).
Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), William Gallas (Arsenal), Marc Planus (Bordeaux), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla).
Midfielders: Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon).
Forwards: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille).