Giroud earns first France call-up for friendlies

Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud was given his first France call-up for the home friendlies against the United States and Belgium later this month but Patrice Evra was among those left out on Thursday.

Giroud, 25, has been in fine form for the Ligue 1 high flyers this season, scoring eight league goals.

France coach Laurent Blanc had hinted Giroud would get his chance with Euro 2012 qualification assured but his decision to rest Manchester United left-back Evra, among those punished for a mutiny at last year's World Cup, was a surprise.

"He has been busy with his club. He has been on the go since the beginning of the season and has also been hit by a personal drama," Blanc told a news conference without elaborating.

Evra, replaced in the squad by the uncapped Jeremy Mathieu, recently accused Liverpool striker Luis Suarez of racial abuse during a match.

Striker Bafetimbi Gomis has also missed out despite being recalled after a two-year absence for the final Euro 2012 qualifiers last month.

France face the United States on November 11 at the Stade de France with Belgium visiting four days later.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Cedric Carrasso (Girondins Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille)

Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Matthieu Debuchy (Lille), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Adil Rami (Valencia), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Jeremy Mathieu (Valencia), Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain)

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United), Alou Diarra (Marseille), Yann M'Vila (Stade Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Marvin Martin (Sochaux), Samir Nasri (Manchester City)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kevin Gameiro (Paris Saint-Germain), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Jeremy Menez (Paris Saint-Germain), Loic Remy (Marseille), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)