Djibril Cisse, Liverpool striker
Raymond Domenech has solved the goalkeeper quandary by keeping Fabian Barthez as his first pick. Gregory Coupet will get a look in if Barthez suffers a meltdown or goes out with injuries. Look out for some vintage Barthez moments in this WC, unless Linda Evangelista has slowed him down.
Pascal Chimbonda, the Wigan defender in the news recently for his transfer shenanigans is also in. Vikash Dhorasoo of PSG, France via Mauritius via India, has also found a spot. Djibril Cisse, Liverpool striker could finally heave a sigh of relief too. He is in. Missing out Roberto Pires, of Arsenal and Nicholas Anelka, and this would be the third WC in a row that he has been overlooked.
Veterans Claude Makelele, Lillian Thuram, and Zinedine Zidane have come back from retirement and will noticeably increase the average age of this French squad but will also give it the foundation that proved to be so succesful for the French in 1998. This will be Zizou’s swansong, so his performance will be extra special.
Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet, and Louis Saha make up the potent French sharpshooting team. Opposing defences will have a tough time with keeping away this sort of firepower. And then there is Patrick Viera, the X factor. When he is on, look out.
Domenech’s criteria: Players with a team spirit.
“They have to renounce personal pride and put themselves at the team’s disposal.”
Goalkeepers: Fabien Barthez (Olympique Marseille), Gregory Coupet (Olympique Lyon), Mickael Landreau (Nantes).
Defenders: Eric Abidal (Olympique Lyon), Jean-Alain Boumsong (Newcastle United), Pascal Chimbonda (Wigan Athletic), William Gallas (Chelsea), Gael Givet (Monaco) Willy Sagnol (Bayern Munich), Mikael Silvestre (Manchester United), Lilian Thuram (Juventus).
Midfielders: Vikash Dhorasoo (Paris St Germain), Alou Diarra (Racing Lens), Claude Makelele (Chelsea), Florent Malouda (Olympique Lyon), Patrick Vieira (Juventus), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid).
Strikers: Djibril Cisse (Liverpool), Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Franck Ribery (Olympique Marseille), Louis Saha (Manchester United), David Trezeguet (Juventus), Sylvain Wiltord (Olympique Lyon).