Desailly on course for record 104th cap

PARIS: Chelsea veteran defender Marcel Desailly stands on the threshold of a record 104th cap for France in next Wednesday’s friendly against Egypt. 

Coach Jacques Santini called the 34-year-old and Chelsea teammates Emmanuel Petit and William Gallas into his 18-man squad – but left out Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane and Claude Makelele as well as Juventus defender Lilian Thuram as their clubs are still in the Champions League. That trio are rested as their sides will be in Champions League semi-final action a week later. 

Desailly missed his country’s last two Euro 2004 qualifying victories over Malta and Israel through injury but is now in line to beat the previous French mark of 103 held by 1998 World Cup winning skipper Didier Deschamps. 

Juventus striker David Trezeguet and Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira will miss the Egypt game as expected through injury. 

In all, seven English Premier League-based players make the squad but Fulham striker Steve Marlet, of Santini’s former club Lyon, misses out.  

With France all but qualified for Euro 2004 Santini is now shaping his squad for this summer’s Confederations Cup. 

The squad  

Goalkeepers: Fabien Barthez (Man Utd), Gregory Coupet (Lyon). 

Defenders: William Gallas (Chelsea), Marcel Desailly (Chelsea) Bixente Lizarazu (Bayern Munich), Philippe Mexes (Auxerre), Willy Sagnol (Bayern Munich), Mikael Silvestre (Man Utd). 

Midfielders: Benoit Pedretti (Sochaux), Robert Pires (Arsenal), Emmanuel Petit (Chelsea) Jerome Rothen (Monaco), Olivier Dacourt (AS Roma), Olivier Kapo (Auxerre). 

Strikers: Djibril Cisse (Auxerre), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Thierry Henry (Arsnal), Sylvain Wiltord (Arsenal). – AFP 

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