France recalls Saha and Cisse

[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] Veteran strikers Louis Saha and Djibril Cisse, both in excellent form for their clubs, find themselves battling for a spot on France's World Cup team after long absences from the national team.

Saha, who has not played for the Bleus in more than three years, got the nod for Wednesday's game against Spain, but Cisse, whose last international appearance came before Euro 2008, is a last-minute addition to the squad after concerns about Saha's fitness.

Saha, 31, did not play in Everton's 2-1 loss at Tottenham on Sunday with a thigh injury.

Cis se, 2 8, has already scored 25 goals this season for Greek club Panathinaikos.

Wednesday's game is the first since France won its playoff series against Ireland and advanced to the World Cup finals thanks to William Gallas' overtime goal scored after Thierry Henry's handball.

"We didn't see the players since this last match against Ireland," French coach Raymond Domenech said. "It's been a while. Now we have only two days to reunite and prepare for the World Cup. All the players should have the World Cup in mind."

Gallas is one of several regulars who are injured and unavailable against Spain.

"This match will be played in a very difficult context, with a lot of injured players," Domenech said. "The good thing is that we will have a chance to see new faces."

Uncapped players Adil Rami (Lille) Michael Ciani (Bordeaux) and Benoit Cheyrou (Marseille) all were called up.

There's good news, though, for the Bleus.

Franck Ribery, whose goal on Sunday gave Bayern Munich a 1-0 over Hamburg and moved it into the lead in the German Bundesliga for the first time since winning the 2008 title, has rejoined the French national team after a long absence because of injuries.

"He hasn't reached his physical peak," said Domenech, "but I'm really happy to see him back."

France Roster:
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux)
Defenders: Jean-Alain Boumsong (Lyon), Michael Ciani (Bordeaux), Aly Cissokho (Lyon), Julien Escude (Seville), Patrice Evra (Man. United), Rod Fanni (Rennes), Adil Rami (Lille), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Benoit Cheyrou (Marseille), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Moussa Sissoko (Toulouse), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Hatem Ben Arfa (Marseille), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Loic Remy (Nice), Louis Saha (Everton), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos)

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