Chelsea’s Malouda at risk of losing spot in France’s Euro 2012 squad
France are 11/1 to win Euro 2012 and the fact that Florent Malouda may not be able to make their final squad goes to show the strength of the options available to Laurent Blanc.
Blanc has taken the first step towards naming his final 23 by selecting his possible players that currently are situated outside of France.
Eight players from the Premier League and another four from around Europe have been initially called up and those playing in France will see their names added to the preliminary list on May 15th.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is Newcastle’ Hatem Ben Arfa, while there are also spots for teammate Yohan Cabaye and vastly improved Tottenham defender Younes Kaboul.
However, of all of the Premier League players included, it is Chelsea’s Florent Malouda who looks surprisingly most unlikely to make the final squad, despite being regularly involved in their qualifying passage to the finals.
France are blessed with a number of talented players to fill the central midfield spots, with Yann M’Vila and Lille captain Rio Mavuba almost certain to be selected.
Meanwhile, playmaker Yoann Gourcuff and exciting Toulouse man Etienne Capoue are others that have strong chances of featuring, alongside Alou Diarra.
In the wide areas, competition also looks strong for Malouda, although Franck Ribery looks the only definite squad member.
It will be hard to leave out Samir Nasri, while Ben Arfa’s pace, directness and energy from the bench may sway things in his favour.
There is then Paris Saint-Germain’s Jeremy Menez and Marseille’s Mathieu Valbuena.
France are 13/8 to finish atop Group D ahead of England and a decent 1/2 just to make the knock-out stages of Euro 2012.