France coach Ripoll names 11 new players in Olympic squad

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PARIS (AP) — Sylvain Ripoll named 11 new players in France's Olympic soccer squad on Friday after resistance from several clubs to the coach's initial selection.

Although Ripoll picked 21 players, only 19 will fly out to Tokyo, the French Football Federation said.

Montpellier goalkeeper Dimitry Bertaud and Lille forward Isaac Lihadji are included but will stay at home and only join up if they are needed, the FFF said on its website.

Ripoll had announced his initial squad last Friday but had to make a raft of changes because of clubs being unwilling to release players.

The Olympic lineup also includes Argentina, Brazil, Germany and Spain. Men’s soccer kicks off ahead of the July 23 opening ceremony in Tokyo.

France plays Mexico on July 22.

Mexico-based players Andre-Pierre Gignac and Florian Thauvin play for Tigres.

Thauvin has recently joined while Gignac has netted 149 goals in 261 games for the Monterrey-based club.

Hertha Berlin midfielder Lucas Tousart and Montpellier playmaker Teji Savanier also stayed in the squad.

Clubs do not have to release players to the Olympics because the FIFA-run tournament is not included on its international match calendar. That list mandates when clubs must hand over players for national-team duty.

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Squad:

Goalkeepers: Stefan Bajic (Saint-Etienne), Paul Bernardoni (Angers), Dimitry Bertaud (Montpellier).

Defenders: Melvin Bard (Lyon), Anthony Caci (Strasbourg), Ismael Doukoure (Valenciennes), Pierre Kalulu (AC Milan), Clement Michelin (Lens), Timothee Pembele (Paris Saint-Germain), Modibo Sagnan (Real Sociedad).

Midfielders: Alexis Beka Beka (Caen), Jeremy Gelin (Rennes), Enzo Le Fee (Lorient), Teji Savanier (Montpellier), Florian Thauvin (Tigres), Lucas Tousart (Hertha Berlin).

Forwards: Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Randal Kolo Muani (Nantes), Isaac Lihadji (Lille), Nathanael Mbuku (Reims), Arnaud Nordin (Saint-Etienne).

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Associated Press

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