Deschamps leaves Nasri, Ben Arfa out for Spain
PARIS (AP) -- France coach Didier Deschamps has overlooked Samir Nasri for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Spain, even though the Manchester City midfielder is available for selection again after serving a three-match ban.
Nasri was banned for three matches by the French Football Federation for his behavior at the European Championship, where he aimed an expletive-laced tirade at a journalist after the quarterfinal loss to Spain.
"I didn't think it was the right time to call him back,'' Deschamps said. "I prefer to wait a while.''
France plays Japan in a friendly on Oct. 12 and then the qualifier in Madrid four days later.
Winger Hatem Ben Arfa was also left out, despite making a bright start to the season with Newcastle.
Deschamps recalled central midfielder Lassana Diarra to compensate for the absence of midfielders Abou Diaby and Rio Mavuba, who both picked up injuries recently.
"If Diaby and Mavuba were available, maybe he wouldn't be here,'' Deschamps said.
Deschamps kept Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in the squad, even though the Montpellier center half is suspended for the Spain match.
"The notion of the squad is very important. I want to keep him involved,'' Deschamps said.
He also gave his backing to first-choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who has played only one match since joining Tottenham and is lacking match practice. Deschamps said Lloris will likely start against Japan to get him sharpened up to face Spain.
"It doesn't pose a problem for me. Why wouldn't he play in both games?'' Deschamps said. "Whatever happens, Hugo's quality is a given.''
Spain will be missing Barcelona captain Carles Puyol, who is out for eight weeks after dislocating his elbow during a Champions League win over Benfica. Spain also has to decide whether to stick with Fernando Torres up front, or play with no recognized center forward and with Cesc Fabregas in a floating role.
Both options were successful during Euro 2012, but Spain struggled to beat Georgia 1-0 in its opening qualifier last month.
"Maybe they are missing some players, but they are still the best team in the world,'' Deschamps said. "The facts are there. No other team has won the European Championship, the World Cup and the Euro again.''
France lost to Spain when the teams met at Euro 2012, offering little in attack and struggling to cope with Spain's intricate passing game.
Since that loss, Deschamps has replaced Laurent Blanc as coach and France has won its opening World Cup qualifiers, at Finland and at home against Belarus.
"I am certain we will play a team at the highest level, but that doesn't mean we'll go over there as victims, thinking we can't do anything,'' Deschamps said. "We have to try and cause them problems with the way we use the ball.''
Goalkeepers: Mickael Landreau (Lille), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
Defenders: Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Christophe Jallet (Paris Saint-Germain), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Adil Rami (Valencia), Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier)
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle) Etienne Capoue (Toulouse), Lassana Diarra (Anzhi), Maxime Gonalons (Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Moussa Sissoko (Toulouse), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)
Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon), Jeremy Menez (Paris Saint-Germain), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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