Nkunku and Konate in; Maignan out as France names 25-man squad for Qatar
France FIFA World Cup

2018 World Cup champions France have named a 25-man squad for the 2022 edition of the mundial which takes place in under two weeks.

France manager Didier Deschamps chose to name 25 instead of 26 men for his squad as he attempts to become the second manager since Italy's Vittorio Pozzo to defend the World Cup title successfully.

There are some notable absentees from the squad including Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, Chelsea enforcer N'Golo Kante and AC Milan shotstopper Mike Maignan. All three players have been battling with injuries and will not be fit in time for France's first match at the tournament.

However, Deschamps will be going in with some new names, much like how he approached the 2018 edition. Having been successful with a team made up of mostly rookies, he will be hoping to pull it off again.

Youngsters Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni both of Real Madrid, Ibrahima Konate of Liverpool and William Saliba of Arsenal will be playing in their first tournament for Les Bleus.

Replacing Maignan will be Alphonse Areola, who has been around the France team but has never really managed to play a key role or game.

Karim Benzema will also be returning to the World Cup after an incredible season which saw him become the oldest player to win the Ballon d'Or. It will be his second tournament, after missing out on the 2018 victory due to him serving a suspension.

The 25-man list is below.

Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (West Ham), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Rennes).

Defenders: Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG), Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool), Jules Kounde (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), William Saliba (Arsenal), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Man Utd).

Midfielders: Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurelien Tchouameni (Real Madrid), Jordan Veretout (Marseille).

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Olivier Giroud (AC Milan), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig).

If France triumph in Qatar, they will be the fourth team to win three World Cup titles or more after Brazil, Italy and Germany.

To achieve that, they must face scale through their group opponents Australia, Denmark and Tunisia. Australia will be their first opponents, before they will have a group stage rematch with Denmark and round up their group with Tunisia.

Denmark will be a source of concern for Deschamps, who has found it difficult to overcome them since the 2018 World Cup. However, they remain favourites to top their group and are also favourites to go all the way.