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 By Mark Rodden

N'Golo Kante in France's Euros squad; Lacazette, Gameiro, Ben Arfa miss out

France coach Didier Deschamps has gone with a tried and trusted line-up for Euro 2016 in naming his final 23-man squad for the tournament on Thursday night.

Deschamps, 47, largely kept faith with the squad that impressed in friendly victories over Netherlands and Russia in March

Deschamps admitted that Barcelona target Hatem Ben Arfa had lost out to "very strong" competition and the Nice attacker joins in-form strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Kevin Gameiro on standby in case of injuries.

Liverpool centre-back Mamadou Sakho, 26, who is currently serving a provisional 30-day ban for an anti-doping violation, is the one major omission compared to Deschamps' last selection.

"I hope for him that the penalty won't be too serious but at the moment the players who are going to represent France need certainty and that things are very clear," Deschamps said.

Leicester City midfielder N'Golo Kante, who scored on his first start against Russia, has forced his way into the hosts' plans for next month's tournament at the expense of Manchester United's Morgan Schneiderlin, who is also part of the eight-man standby list.

"Obviously the players present at the last gathering had an advantage since it went very well and the fact that I chose them for it with a view to them being at the European Championships as well," he said.

"To make a list for a final tournament, it's not about selecting the best 23 players in every position.

"It's about building a squad of 23 players who for me seem more capable of going as far as possible in the competition.

"It's true that the first criteria is sporting but obviously there are others."

Deschamps had already flagged that Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema would not be selected as a result of his involvement in the Mathieu Valbuena blackmail case.

"There's no question about it on a sporting level - performances on the pitch," Deschamps said, when asked whether Benzema would have been included had he not been charged with conspiracy to blackmail last November.

"I've always considered that the team was above everything. The president of the federation shared my opinion so the decision was taken in the interest of the collective."

N'Golo Kante got the nod for the France squad over Man United's Morgan Schneiderlin.

Lyon winger Valbuena, the victim in that affair, has endured a nightmare season since that story became public and it is no surprise that the 31-year-old was also omitted on Thursday.

"Mathieu, unfortunately for him, had a very difficult season with Olympique Lyonnais," Deschamps said.

"He strung together a lot of injuries and his performances were below what he's capable of.

"And he was in competition with players who were performing very well. Those that were in the 23 but also those that are on standby."

Dimitri Payet also found the net against Russia and retains his place, while Arsenal's Olivier Giroud will be relieved to have been included ahead of Ben Arfa, who had been recalled by Les Bleus for November's friendlies against Germany and England.

Lyon striker Lacazette, 24, who has broken the 20-goal mark in Ligue 1 for the second season in a row, and Gameiro, who has scored 27 goals in all competitions for Sevilla, were also pushing hard for a call-up.

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, who retired from international duty after missing the 2014 World Cup, hinted recently that he might make himself available for France again.

But there was no surprise inclusion for Ribery and Deschamps also resisted the temptation to offer new Borussia Dortmund signing Ousmane Dembele the chance to be capped at senior level for the first time.

"Honestly, no," Deschamps responded, when asked if he had considered calling up Ribery. "Franck Ribery brought a lot to the French team before I was manager. He brought a lot when I was manager too.

"He took a decision following the World Cup to end his international career.

"I've placed faith in the players who have paid that faith back. I don't feel I have any right to deprive them of such an event a few days from such a competition."

Uncapped Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot has been rewarded for a strong season with the French champions by being named on standby along with Lyon centre back Samuel Umtiti and Lille full back Djibril Sidibe.

France will open the tournament at the Stade de France in Paris when they play their opening group match against Romania on June 10.

The full squad:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Benoit Costil (Rennes)

Defenders: Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Jeremy Mathieu (Barcelona), Patrice Evra (Juventus), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Lucas Digne (Roma)

Midfielders: Paul Pogba (Juventus), Blaise Matuidi (PSG), Lassana Diarra (Marseille), N'Golo Kante (Leicester), Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle)

Attackers: Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Kingsley Coman (Bayer Munich), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres)

Standby: Alphonse Areola (Villarreal), Hatem Ben Arfa (Nice), Kevin Gameiro (Sevilla), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), Adrien Rabiot (PSG), Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United), Djibril Sidibe (Lille), Samuel Umtiti (Lyon)

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