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Sabella shuts door on Tevez WC recall Nasri, Abidal left out of France squad

BUENOS AIRES, May 14, (Agencies): Central defender Martin Demichelis, a Premier League winner with Manchester City in his first season in England, earned a surprise call-up on Tuesday to Argentina’s provisional 30-man World Cup squad.
However, there was no last-minute surprise place for Juventus striker Carlos Tevez, who has never been in coach Alejandro Sabella’s plans despite his fine form in Serie A.
Demichelis, a veteran of the 2010 finals, had not been called up by Sabella since being dropped after a 1-1 draw at home to Bolivia in a South American qualifier in November 2011.
The 33-year-old, who has 37 caps, put behind him a poor Champions League last-16 performance against Barcelona in February, when he conceded a penalty and was sent off, to secure his place in the centre of the City defence in the title run-in.
Sabella, whose team have often looked unbalanced with a brilliant attack and ordinary rearguard, has noted Demichelis’s recent form as he looks to improve his defence for Argentina’s tilt at a third World Cup triumph in Brazil.

Another surprise call-up is Catania midfielder Fabian Rinaudo, who won one of his four caps under Sabella in 2011, and is regarded as cover in case regular midfielders Fernando Gago or Augusto Fernandez fail to recover from injury in time to be included in the definitive squad on June 2.
Right back Gabriel Mercado has earned a chance thanks to his performances for River Plate, who can lift the Argentine league title this weekend.
Sabella named Gago of Boca Juniors, Fernandez of Celta Vigo and Real Madrid’s Angel Di Maria who all hope to be fit in time for the tournament in Brazil starting on June 12 in which Argentina face Iran, Bosnia and Nigeria in Group F.
Di Maria is fighting to be fit for Real’s Champions League final against Atletico Madrid on May 24.
Werder Bremen’s Franco Di Santo has been given a chance to stake a claim for a spot in Sabella’s star-studded strike force featuring Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Agustin Orion (Boca Juniors)
Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Federico Fernandez (Napoli), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon), Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan), Martin Demichelis (Manchester City), Jose Basanta (Monterrey), Nicolas Otamendi (Atletico Mineiro), Lisandro Lopez (Getafe), Gabriel Mercado (River Plate).
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Fernando Gago (Boca Juniors), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Ever Banega (Newell’s Old Boys), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter Milan), Augusto Fernandez (Celta Vigo), Jose Sosa (Atletico Madrid), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Maxi Rodriguez (Newell’s Old Boys), Fabian Rinaudo (Catania), Enzo Perez (Benfica).
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris Saint-Germain), Franco Di Santo (Werder Bremen).
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Samir Nasri, who was instrumental in helping Manchester City to win the Premier League title, was left out of France’s World Cup squad when Didier Deschamps unveiled a 23-man list plus seven standby players on Tuesday.
Nasri, who has a reputation of being a troublemaker and was disappointing in Les Bleus’s playoff first leg against Ukraine last year, was a notable absentee along with defender Eric Abidal.
Abidal, who has been used sparingly by Claudio Ranieri at Monaco during the second part of the season, has been deemed not good enough to travel to Brazil.
French radio RMC reported that Abidal, 34, is retiring from international football.
“Samir is an important player for Manchester City but he has not performed that well with France,” Deschamps told French TV channel TF1.
“He is a starter at City, which is not the case with France and he has made clear that he is not happy when he is not (a starter), and I can tell you it can be felt in the squad.
“I built the best squad, I did not pick the 23 best French players.”
Nasri was banned for three matches after launching a foul-mouthed rant at a reporter following France’s quarter-final defeat by Spain at Euro 2012.
Also left out was City fullback Gael Clichy, who was at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 but Deschamps instead picked the talented yet inexperienced Lucas Digne of Paris St Germain.
In Brazil, Deschamps will rely on Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, who with Mathieu Valbuena should support Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.
In the midfield Paris St Germain duo Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi will be alongside Paul Pogba of Juventus while Deschamps is expected to pick his centre backs between Raphael Varane, Mamadou Sakho and Laurent Koscielny.
The seven standby players, which includes Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin, will be with the squad until May 28.
France will play neighbours Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras in Group E.
They will gear up for the June 12-July 13 tournament with friendlies against Norway (May 27), Paraguay (June 1) and Jamaica (June 8).
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille), Mickael Landreau (Bastia)
Defenders: Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United), Lucas Digne (Paris St Germain) Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Paris St Germain), Clement Grenier (Olympique Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille)
Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad), Loic Remy (Newcaste United), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
Standby players: Stephane Ruffier (Monaco); Loic Perrin (St Etienne); Maxime Gonalons (Olympique Lyon); Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton); Benoit Tremoulinas (Dynamo Kiev); Alexandre Lacazette (Olympique Lyon); Remy Cabella (Montpellier).
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Strikers Alberto Gilardino and Luca Toni missed out, while the injury-plagued Giuseppe Rossi and controversial forward Antonio Cassano were included in Italy’s 30-man provisional World Cup squad named on Tuesday.
Coach Cesare Prandelli also selected Giorgio Chiellini, a move which is likely to stir up more controversy as the announcement came one day after the key defender was banned for three club matches for elbowing an opponent.
Rossi, sidelined for nearly two years with an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his right knee, made an impressive comeback this season until suffering another, lesser injury to the same knee in January.
He has only just made his latest return, scoring in a Serie A match against Sassuolo a week ago and setting up a goal against Livorno on Sunday.
When fit, the Fiorentina striker is regarded as one of Italy’s best and a useful alternative to the mercurial Mario Balotelli to lead the attack.
Parma striker Cassano, whose career has been littered with tantrums and rows, has not played for Italy since leading the attack at Euro 2012 alongside Balotelli, but forced himself back into contention with 12 goals and some impressive performances this season.
Cassano said recently that he had lost 10 kilos in a bid to make the trip to Brazil.
Gilardino, who played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, has scored 15 goals for Genoa this season but it was not enough to swing Prandelli.
Toni, 37 this month, had pushed himself into contention with 20 goals for Verona but missed out, as did AS Roma’s Francesco Totti, another 37-year-old.
Midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini, a regular in the Confederations Cup last year, was another who failed to make the list.
Prandelli has implemented a strict code of ethics since taking in over in 2010 and dropped players in the past for violent conduct in club games.
In April, he warned that any further misbehaviour could cost players their place at the World Cup.
However, he included Chiellini on Tuesday despite the Juventus player’s three-match ban for elbowing Roma’s Miralem Pjanic on Sunday.
Prandelli told ANSA that he had reviewed footage of the incident and said it was not violent, but his decision is likely to provoke criticism in a country where controversy is never far away from the national side.
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St Germain), Mattia Perin (Genoa)
Defenders: Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Gabriel Paletta (Parma), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan), Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina)
Midfielders: Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Thiago Motta (Paris St Germain), Marco Verratti (Paris St Germain), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan), Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Marco Parolo (Parma), Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Romulo (Verona)
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Giuseppe Rossi (Fiorentina), Mattia Destro (AS Roma), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli).
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Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Portugal’s World Cup campaign after being named in their provisional 30-man squad for the finals on Tuesday, despite currently being out with a hamstring injury.
The Portugal captain picked up the injury playing for Real Madrid against Real Valladolid last week, and missed their defeat to Celta Vigo on Sunday.
But the 29-year-old is expected to recover in plenty of time for Portugal’s opening World Cup match in Group G against Germany on June 16.
Portugal coach Paulo Bento also included Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma in his provisional squad. The 30-year-old former Barcelona player rejoined Porto in January after six months out of the game following his departure from Dubai’s Al-Ahli last year.
Portugal also face the US and Ghana in their World Cup group.
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyon), Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patricio (Sporting).
Defenders: Andre Almeida (Benfica), Antunes (Malaga), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Fabio Coentreo (Real Madrid), Joao Pereira (Valencia), Neto (Zenit St Petersburg), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Rolando (Inter Milan)
Midfeidlers: Andre Gomes (Benfica), Joao Mario (Vitoria Setubal), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Ruben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting).
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eder (Braga), Helder Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica), Nani (Manchester United), Rafa (Braga), Ricardo Quaresma (Porto), Varela (Porto), Vieirinha (VfL Wolfsburg).
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Colombia coach Jose Pekerman maintained hopes that star striker Radamel Falcao could make the World Cup finals by naming him in his 30-man provisional squad on Tuesday.
Falcao is recovering from surgery on ruptured cruciate ligaments and has not played since late January.
Despite major doubts about his fitness, the 28-year-old Monaco striker has repeatedly said he still hopes to be in Brazil.
Colombia have been drawn in Group C at the World Cup with Greece, the Ivory Coast and Japan.
They will face Greece in their opening game in Belo Horizonte on June 14.
Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Nice/FRA), Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali), Camilo Vargas (Santa Fe)
Defenders: Pablo Armero (West Ham United/ENG), Camilo Zu­±iga (Napoli/ITA), Aquivaldo Mosquera (Am­©rica/MEX), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan/ITA), Luis Amaranto Perea (Cruz Azul/MEX), Eder Alvarez Balanta (River Plate/ARG), Mario Alberto Yepes (Atalanta/ITA), Carlos Vald­©s (San Lorenzo/ARG).
Midfielders: Abel Aguilar (Toulouse/ARG), Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan/ITA), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Fiorentina/ITA), James Rodriguez (Monaco/FRA), Aldo Leao Ramirez (Morelia/MEX), Carlos Sanchez (Elche/ESP), Macnelly Torres (Al-Shabab/KSA), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven/NED), Edwin Valencia (Fluminense/BRA), Alexander Mejia (Atl­©tico Nacional), Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto/POR), Elkin Soto (Mainz/GER).
Forwards: Radamel Falcao (Monaco/FRA) Luis Fernando Muriel (Udinese/ITA), Jackson Martinez (Porto/POR), Carlos Bacca (Sevilla/ESP), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate/ARG), Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin/GER), Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari/ITA).
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Coach Ange Postecoglou named Preston North End’s Bailey Wright as a surprise selection in Australia’s inexperienced provisional 30-man World Cup squad Wednesday.
The 21-year-old English-based central defender, who has yet to play for his country, was one of two unexpected picks, along with Fortuna Dusseldorf forward Ben Halloran.
Only eight players — Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy, Mark Milligan, Mile Jedinak, Mark Bresciano, Luke Wilkshire, Eugene Galekovic and Dario Vidosic — remain from the squad that went to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.
Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, former captain and defender Lucas Neill, forward Harry Kewell and midfielders Brett Emerton and Brett Holman have all announced their international retirements in recent times, leaving the Socceroos in a state of transition.
“The squad has been selected with form and fitness as key indicators as well as having one eye on the future,” said Postecoglou.
“We face a formidable challenge in Brazil but it is also a big opportunity and we head to the World Cup with no barriers as we look to write a new chapter in our rich football history.”
Australia will face reigning world champions Spain, the Netherlands and Chile in Group B. Chile are their first opponents in Curitiba on June 13 with the squad heading to Brazil on May 28.
Their final 23-man squad will be named on June 2.
Defenders: Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar/AUS), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney/AUS), Curtis Good (Newcastle United/ENG), Bailey Wright (Preston North End/ENG), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo/NED), Luke Wilkshire (Dynamo Moscow/RUS), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors/KOR), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng/CHN)
Midfielders: Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace/ENG), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory/AUS), James Holland (Austria Vienna/AUT), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town/ENG), Adam Sarota (FC Utrecht/NED), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern/SUI), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar/AUS), Mark Bresciano (Al-Gharafa/QAT), Josh Brilliante (Newcastle Jets/AUS)
Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls/USA), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus/JPN), Tom Rogic (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Dario Vidosic (Sion/SUI), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht/NED), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf/GER), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets/AUS), Matthew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt/GER).
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Two London-based players feature in Iran coach Carlos Queiroz’s preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup.
Fulham midfielder Ashkan Dejageh and Charlton striker Reza Ghoochannejad are among 10 foreign-based players in the squad, which will be trimmed to 23 by June 2.
The Iranians have had a troubled build-up to the tournament and last month Queiroz started a training camp in South Africa with only 12 players.
The Portugese coach is also embroiled in a row with the Iran Football Federation about his players not having enough kit ahead of the tournament.
Queiroz’s squad are currently training in Austria.
Iran, playing in the World Cup finals for the fourth time after 1978, 1998 and 2006, have been drawn in Group F alongside Argentina, Nigeria and Bosnia-Hercegovina, and open their campaign against the Nigerians on June 16.
Goalkeepers: Daniel Davari (Eintracht Braunschweig/GER), Rahman Ahmadi (Sepahan Isfahan), Alireza Haqiqi (Sporting da Covilha/POR), Sosha Makani (Foolad), Ali Reza Biranvand (Naft Tehran).
Defenders: Hossein Mahini (Persepolis), Jalal Hosseini (Persepolis), Ehsan Hajsafi (Sepahan Isfahan), Amir Hossein Sadeqi (Esteghlal), Hashem Beykzadeh (Esteghlal), Khosrow Heidari (Esteghlal), Ahmad Alenemeh (Naft Tehran), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Zob Ahan Isfahan), Pejman Montazeri (Umm Salal SC/QAT), Steven Beitashour (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN).
Midfielders: Mehrdad Pouladi (Persepolis), Reza Haghighi (Persepolis), Andranik Teymourian (Esteghlal), Ghasem Hadadifar (Zob Ahan Isfahan), Bakhtiar Rahmani (Foolad), Javad Nekounam (Kuwait SC/KUW), Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham/ENG), Masoud Shojaei (UD Las Palmas/ESP)
Forwards: Mohammad Reza Khalatbari (Persepolis), Mehdi Sharifi (Sepahan Isfahan), Karim Ansarifard (Tractor Sazi), Reza Ghoochannejhad (Charlton Athletic/ENG), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (NEC/NED), Sardar Azmoun (FC Rubin Kazan/RUS), Reza Norouzi (Naft Tehran).
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Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda named three untested strikers, Cristian Penilla, Angel Mena and Armando Wila, in his provisional 30-man squad on Tuesday for the World Cup finals.
Wila, who is top scorer in the Ecuadorean first division, and Penilla and Mena will be vying for a place in Rueda’s definitive 23-man squad which he must name by June 2.
The trio are not in Amsterdam for Saturday’s World Cup warm-up against the Dutch but Rueda, who has a wealth of attacking talent on the wings, is concerned about finding some depth at centre forward after Christian Benitez died unexpectedly last year aged 27.
North American-based midfielders Michael Arroyo and Oswaldo Minda earned a recall after missing the South American qualifiers.
Ecuador face Switzerland, Honduras and France in Group E at the June 12-July 13 tournament.
Goalkeepers: Maximo Banguera (Barcelona SC), Alexander Dominguez (LDU Quito), Adrian Bone (El Nacional)
Defenders: Frickson Erazo (Flamengo), Jorge Guagua, Jhon Narvaez, Oscar Bagui, Gabriel Achilier (all Emelec), Walter Ayovi (Pachuca), Juan Carlos Paredes (Barcelona SC), Cristian Ramirez (Fortuna Duesseldorf)
Midfielders: Segundo Castillo (Al-Hilal), Carlos Gruezo (VfB Stuttgart), Renato Ibarra (Vitesse Arnhem), Cristian Noboa (Dynamo Moscow), Pedro Quinonez (Emelec), Luis Saritama (Barcelona SC), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Edison Mendez (Independiente Santa Fe), Fidel Martinez (Tijuana), Oswaldo Minda (Chivas USA), Michael Arroyo (Atlante)
Forwards: Felipe Caicedo (Al-Jazira), Jefferson Montero (Morelia), Joao Rojas (Cruz Azul), Armando Wila (Universidad Catolica, Ecuador), Jaime Ayovi (Tijuana), Enner Valencia (Pachuca), Cristian Penilla (Barcelona SC), Angel Mena (Emelec).
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Croatia coach Niko Kovac has found a blend of youth and experience for his provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup.
The Croatians will kick off the tournament on June 12 when they take on hosts Brazil in the opening match.
Apart from experienced stars like midfield magician Luka Modric of Real Madrid, young players such as Dinamo Zagreb’s 21-year-old goalkeeper Oliver Zelenika, currently on loan at Lokomotiva, have also found a place in the squad.
“We have a grat mix of youth and experience,” said Kovac, 42, who took over the post seven months ago.
The final 23-man list will be announced after a friendly against Mali on May 31, the former Croatia captain told reporters.
“We are delighted to play at the World Cup. We have no imperatives, we will play the best we can,” he stressed.
“Brazil are the main favourites ... they have a great team and an experienced coach who already won the world title.”
The squad also includes Brazilian-born midfielder Sammir, a former Dinamo Zagreb key player, renowned for his off-the-field antics, who joined Spanish side Getafe this year.
“After he (Sammir) has left Dinamo he has been playing better and better, he is physically stronger, and we will see at preparations if he can do it even better,” Kovac said.
The Croatians will play their last World Cup warm-up match on June 6, against Australia, in Brazil.
Group A also includes Cameroon and Mexico. Croatia’s best result at a World Cup was third place in 1998 in France, but they failed to qualify for South Africa in 2010.

Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Rostov/RUS), Danijel Subasic (Monaco/FRA), Oliver Zelenika (Lokomotiva Zagreb)
Defenders: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR), Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kiev/UKR), Sime Vrsaljko (Genoa/ITA), Ivan Strinic (Dniepropetrvsk/UKR), Danijel Pranjic (Panathinaikos/GRE), Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow/RUS), Dejan Lovren (Southampton/ENG), Gordon Schindelfeld (Panathinaikos/GRE), Igor Bubnjic (Udinese/ITA)
Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid/ESP), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla/ESP), Mateo Kovacic (Inter Milan/ITA), Niko Kranjcar QPR/ENG), Marcelo Brozovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev/UKR), Milan Badelj (Hamburg/GER), Ivan Mocinic (Rijeka), Mario Pasalic (Hajduk Split), Sammir (Getafe/ESP)
Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Bayern Munich/GER), Nikica Jelavic (Hull/ENG), Ivica Olic (VfL Wolfsburg/GER), Eduardo Da Silva (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR), Duje Cop (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivo Ilicevic (Hamburg/GER), Ivan Perisic (VfL Wolfsburg/GER), Ante Rebic (Fiorentina/ITA).

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