Fans react as France, Portugal drop big names from World Cup Squad

France fans question the selection of Olivier Giroud over Alexandre Lacazette, while Portugal fans express unhappiness over the non-selection of Nani.

By: Sports Desk | Published: May 18, 2018 5:15:19 pm
Didier Deschamps, Anthony Martial, Didier Deschamps Anthony Martial Manchester United, manchester United, football, sports, sports news Anthony Martial is not included in France World Cup squad. (File)

Just a few days ago, England manager Gareth Southgate faced backlash as he chose to drop Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere from the squad that will be travelling to Russia for the FIFA World Cup. Wilshere, who displayed terrific form for the club and became a regular for Arsenal this season, was fit to be selected in the 23-man squad, but was dropped. The selection of Arsenal forward, Danny Welbeck, who did not have his best season so far, further led fans to question the selection.

On Friday, the attention turned towards France and Portugal, as the two countries also dropped some influential and big names from the squad. While France decided to not include Manchester United’s winger Anthony Martial and Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette, Portugal selected only 13 members from their Euro 2016 winning squad. Nani, Renato Sanchez and the goalscorer from the final Eder, are all significant absentees from Portugal’s 23-man squad, which was announced late Thursday.

FIFA World Cup 2018: Complete squads

For France, the selection of striker Olivier Giroud over Lacazette became the most critical point of contention. Several fans joked that the former’s decision to leave Arsenal led to coach Didier Deschamps making his selection.

In his explanation on the omission of the two players, Deschamps told reporters: “There is especially strong competition. I consider Giroud, (Antoine) Griezmann, (Kylian) Mbappe and (Nabil) Fekir as axial strikers, even if they can play in other positions. Just watch Mbappe’s performance in this position against Russia recently. I think there is no point in accumulating multiple players in the same position.”

For Portugal, the biggest name that was left out was former Manchester United man Nani, who was a goalscorer in Euro Cup for Portugal. The Lazio midfielder, who did not enjoy his best season this year, could not make it to the team, and fans dub that his absence will hurt Portugal on the biggest stage.

On being questioned whether the squad is weaker than the one that went to France for Euro Cup in 2016, Portugal manager Fernando Santos said that he has “full confidence” in the team. “It is not possible to say if the squad is stronger than the Euros. I have absolute confidence in this squad, as I had in the other. Portugal, in a hundred years, had never won anything. With the quality of the players in the squad now, if you ask me, I say that I have the same confidence in both groups,” he said.

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