Excluding Benzema would have been more justified if Thierry Henry was not selected either since both strikers have been peripheral figures for their respective clubs this season. Benzema has managed eight strikes in 26 appearances in La Liga while Henry has scored four times in 19 league matches. While Henry is 32-years-old and nearing the end of his career and most likely his international career will come to a close after South Africa 2010, the 22-year-old Benzema is considered the future of the French attack. He might be struggling with Los Galacticos but this is his first venture outside France and he is still a relatively young player with potential so perhaps a change of scenery will do him good and reinvigorate his career. Benzema is being linked with clubs across Europe, in particular elite sides such as Milan and Manchester, which is evidence there is confidence in the striker’s abilities despite his struggles in Madrid. The former Lyon attacker was one of the very few positives from a disastrous Euro 2008 campaign when France crashed in the group stage after a series of dismal displayers.
Causing even further controversy was the decision to omit Vieira quite simply because Domenech chose to give the experienced midfielder indications on more than one occasion that he will be considered and added to the team once he starts playing on a regular basis. Vieira left Inter and joined Manchester City in order to get more playing time and force his way back into the French national team. Vieria who has played over 100 games for France was excluded from the provisional squad much to his dismay and the bitter veteran accused Domenech of lacking class after he learned of his omission through television when the Coach made his announcement about the squad. Domenech has a history of tense relationships with previous stars, mostly notably with Juventus striker David Trezeguet. The Coach excluded Trezeguet from his Euro 2008 squad and the two rarely saw eye-to-eye when Trezeguet was part of the Germany 2006 squad.
With regards to the players chosen there were not really any major surprises as the squad will probably take shape with the more experienced elements starting with goalkeeping trip Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda and Mickael Landreau likely to be chosen considering Cedric Carrasso’s lack of experience with the national team. Lloris will get the nod to start in a goal protected by a defensive line mostly based in England with Bacary Sagna, William Gallas, Gael Clichy and Patrice Evra all featuring for Premier League sides. Defenders Rod Fanni and Adil Rami will likely be cut by the time the final squad is announced due to their lack of experience.
In midfield the choices will probably fall upon Jeremy Toulalan, Lassana Diarra, Yoann Gourcuff, Abou Diaby and Florent Malouda fighting for a starring role while in attack Franck Ribery and Thierry Henry are almost certain to start during the World Cup. This leaves Sidney Govou, Nicolas Anelka, Djibril Cisse, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Mathieu Valbuena, Hatem Ben Arfa and Jimmy Briand fighting for three spots with the first trio the likely choice by Domenech due to their experience.
Provisional 30 man France squad
Hugo Lloris (Lyon)
Steve Mandanda (Marseille)