France coach Deschamps picks Evra for Ukraine playoff
By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) - France coach Didier Deschamps drew a line under the Patrice Evra affair when he picked the Manchester United defender on Thursday in a 24-man squad to face Ukraine in their World Cup playoff.
Evra was cleared by the French federation after he called former internationals Luis Fernandez and Bixente Lizarazu "bums" in a TV interview last month.
"He was eligible so I decided to pick him," Deschamps, who otherwise only added Lille midfielder Rio Mavuba to the squad who beat Australia 6-0 in a friendly and Finland 3-0 in their final World Cup qualifier, told a news conference.
"I and the players are focused on a very important meeting for us. You can write whatever you want. Internally we are focused on sport."
Grilled on the matter by reporters, a slightly annoyed Deschamps added :
"I choose on sporting criteria. You can write whatever you want."
France have made the headlines for off-field reasons in recent past.
In 2010, several players, including then captain Evra, were banned after being implicated in a strike in support of striker Nicolas Anelka who had insulted coach Raymond Domenech. Continued...