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Griezmann back in France's good graces
by Paul Kennedy, February 27th, 2014 6:50PM

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TAGS:  france, spain, world cup 2014

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[WORLD CUP 2014 COUNTDOWN] Antoine Griezmann, one of Europe's most exciting young prospects, has been recalled for France's friendly Wednesday against the Netherlands at the Stade de France. Griezmann, who has scored 15 goals for Spanish club Real Sociedad, has completed his year-long suspension for breaking curfew while playing with the French U-21s in November 2012.

Griezmann moved to Spain at the age of 13 and debuted for Real Sociedad during the 2009-10 season. He was part of the French team that won the 2010 European U-19 title. He is tied for third in La Liga in goals with Chilean Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona) behind Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), and his ball skills and quick acceleration make him one of the most exciting French players to come along in recent years. At 22, he'll be looking for his first cap against the Netherlands.

Griezmann was caught breaking curfew, taking a taxi from Le Havre, where the France U-21s had a match scheduled two days later, to Paris along with Yann M’Vila, Wissam Ben Yedder, M’baye Niang and Chris Mavinga. France went on to lose the U-21 playoff series to Norway. While the punishment might seem to have been harsh, the incident followed a series of incidents involving the senior national team that put French soccer in a very bad light. One of them involved M'Vila, who had six months tacked on his suspension (later reduced by four months).

Also handed his first call-up was Paris St. Germain defender Lucas Digne from France's 2013 U-20 world championship team.

The squad consists of nine players each based at clubs in England and France, three in Spain and one each in Italy, Germany and Portugal.

France roster:
GOALKEEPERS: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham/ENG), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Stephane Ruffier (St. Etienne)
DEFENDERS: Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle/ENG), Lucas Digne (Paris SG), Patrice Evra (Man. United/ENG), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal/ENG), Eliaquim Mangala (FC Porto/POR), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal/ENG), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool/ENG), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid/SPA)
MIDFIELDERS: Yohan Cabaye (Paris SG), Blaise Matuidi (Paris SG), Clement Grenier (Lyon), Paul Pogba (Juventus/ITA), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle/ENG), Rio Mavuba (Lille)
FORWARDS: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/SPA), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal/ENG), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/GER), Loic Remy (Newcastle/ENG), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad/SPA).


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