France boss Didier Deschamps has recalled Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane to the squad for the World Cup qualifier with Finland this month.
The 20-year-old Varane made his first appearance since undergoing a knee operation in May against Copenhagen in the Champions League on Wednesday, and even after a five-month absence, Deschamps has included the youngster in his panel for the Oct. 15 clash.
Newcastle United duo Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy have also been recalled, with the latter being absent from the international scene since March, while Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho also returns to the squad.
"Varane is back as well. I needed three players left-footed in central defense with Sakho and Abidal. I took Abidal because he is competitive again. It makes sense to resume his way into the team," Deschamps told reporters. "Remy is effective again, his speed is interesting and he may play different offensive positions."
Deschamps refused to explain the inclusion of Karim Benzema, who has endured an indifferent season with Real Madrid thus far and has not found the net for 15 months at international level.
"Benzema? It is of no concern to you if I call him up or not," Deschamps said.
Les Blues, who sit second behind Spain on goal difference in Group I, look certain to book their place in Brazil via playoff, with La Roja's remaining fixtures being home clashes with Belarus and Georgia; however, while Deschamps admits that automatic qualification is out of his hands, he believes he is permitted to dream of Vicente del Bosque's men slipping up.
"Playoffs are not dependent on us," Deschamps said. We'll see what awaits us. Dreaming is allowed, but..."
Here is France's squad in full: