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France must go for gold without Bayern’s Tel

The European Championship is just around the corner, but the Summer Olympics in Paris are already casting their shadow. Host nation France will now also have to do without Bavaria’s Mathys Tel

France had long hoped that superstar Kylian Mbappé would be there when the Equipe Tricolore went for Olympic gold – even French President Emmanuel Macron had made a request to his new club Real Madrid to release Mbappé. But that was not the case.

Mbappé was not the only case of the French being turned down. “The last time I got so many rejections, I was in middle school,” national coach Thierry Henry commented humorously on the situation. At the beginning of June, the former world-class striker then published a list of 25 players on which he would like to build for the Olympic Games.

The list also included prominent names such as Bundesliga professionals Castello Lukeba (Leipzig), Kiliann Sildillia (Freiburg), Enzo Millot (Stuttgart), Manu Koné (Mönchengladbach) and Bayern attacker Mathys Tel, as well as Warren Zaire-Emery (Paris St. Germain).

Since there is no obligation for clubs to release players for the Olympic Games, which are not part of the official FIFA calendar, Henry was delighted with the commitments, but had already suspected that his tournament squad would almost certainly look different – and he has now been confirmed.

Six withdrawn, three re-nominated

On Tuesday evening, the French Football Federation (FFF) announced that six players from the shortlist would be “unavailable” – including 19-year-old Munich player Tel and Zaire-Emery. Other players who had to be withdrawn are Lucas Chevalier, Bafodé Diakité, Lenny Yoro (both Lille OSC) and Bradley Barcola (PSG). No further details were given.

Henry has replaced Chrislain Matsima (Clermont Foot), Andy Diouf (RC Lens) and Rayan Cherki (Olympique Lyonnais). However, the Germany internationals Lukeba, Sildillia, Koné and Millot are still part of the French squad. The host nation’s provisional squad now comprises 22 players, which Henry will have to reduce to 18 by July 3.

The Olympic soccer tournament will take place from July 24 to August 11 and therefore falls right in the middle of preparations for the new season

France’s provisional Olympic squad at a glance

Goal : Guillaume Restes (FC Toulouse), Obed Nkambadio (Paris FC), Robin Risser (Racing Strasbourg)

Defense : Kiliann Sildillia (SC Freiburg), Castello Lukeba (RB Leipzig), Maxime Esteve (FC Burnley), Adrien Truffert (Stade Rennes), Bradley Locko (Stade Brest), Chrislain Matsima (Clermont Foot)

Midfield : Khephren Thuram (OGC Nice), Manu Koné (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Maghnes Akliouche (AS Monaco), Enzo Millot (VfB Stuttgart), Joris Chotard (HSC Montpellier), Desiré Doué (Stade Rennes), Lesley Ugochukwu (Chelsea FC), Andy Diouf (RC Lens)

Attack : Alexandre Lacazette (Olympique Lyon), Jean-Philippe Mateta (Crystal Palace), Michael Olise (Crystal Palace), Arnaud Kalimuendo (Stade Rennes), Rayan Cherki (Olympique Lyon)



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