Penpix of France squad

PARIS, May 18 (Reuters) - Penpix of France's provisional 24-man squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa:

Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyon). Goalkeeper. Born Dec. 26 1986. Caps: 9. Goals: 0

Discreet, almost shy and with boyish looks, the 23-year-old Lloris has emerged as France's undisputed number one ahead of Steve Mandanda. Brilliant in one-on-one situations and reassuring on high balls, he has the makings of a world-class goalkeeper and now has the perfect stage on which to prove it.

Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille). Goalkeeper. Born March 28 1985. Caps: 12. Goals. 0

An excellent shot stopper with a taste for spectacular saves, the Kinshasa-born Marseille keeper has lost his place as France's first choice to Lloris, the main reason being he is not quite as safe on high balls.

Cedric Carrasso (Girondins Bordeaux). Goalkeeper. Born Dec. 30 1981. Caps: 0.

After losing his place in the starting lineup to Mandanda at Marseille, he bounced back at Toulouse and then joined Girondins Bordeaux, playing a prominent role in their 2008-09 Ligue 1-winning campaign. Extremely reliable, he is fighting with Mickael Landreau for the number three spot in goal.

William Gallas (Arsenal). Defender. Born Aug. 17 1977. Caps: 78. Goals: 4.

The only totally reliable central defender in the France squad, the former Arsenal skipper is doubtful due to a recurrent calf injury which has sidelined him since the end of March. Scored the goal that sent France to the World Cup at the expense of Ireland in a playoff but that was totally eclipsed by Thierry Henry's infamous handball seconds earlier.

Eric Abidal (Barcelona). Defender. Born Sept. 11 1979. Caps: 45. Goals: 0

A left-back at Barca and for years for France, notably during the 2006 World Cup, he should play in central defence in South Africa with France short of options in that area. An excellent defender, he has a record, however, for costly blunders, and his season has been marred by a string of injuries.

Patrice Evra (Manchester United). Defender. Born May 15 1981. Caps: 27. Goals: 0

Has just been voted best left-back in the Premier League ahead of Ashley Cole, which pretty much says it all. Fast and technically gifted, he is one of few truly world-class players in the France squad.

Bacary Sagna (Arsenal). Defender. Born Feb. 14 1983. Caps: 17. Goals: 0

Fighting with Djibril Cisse for the most extravagant hairdo award, Sagna has distinctive blond braids bobbing from his head. He has also become France's undisputed number one right-back since Willy Sagnol retired after the Euro 2008 flop.

Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla). Defender. Born Aug. 11 1980. Caps: 18. Goals 0

A totally dependable, no-nonsense central defender, he has often played a role in Domenech's plans and might have become first choice had he not been persistently hit by injuries.

Marc Planus (Girondins Bordeaux). Defender. Born March 7 1982. Caps: 0

Schooled at Bordeaux, he has never left the club, becoming a stalwart of their trademark strong defence. Probably made the squad only because of the question mark over Gallas and unlikely to remain when the list is trimmed to 23 players.

Anthony Reveillere (Olympique Lyon). Defender. Born Nov. 10 1979. Caps: 5. Goals: 0

Not often called up but always available, the experienced right-back will not grumble if he has to stay on the bench.

Gael Clichy (Arsenal). Defender. Born July 26 1985. Caps: 3. Caps: 0

A talented left-back, he is the undisputed number one at Arsenal but when it comes to France, he has a problem called Patrice Evra.

Abou Diaby (Arsenal). Midfielder. Born May 11 1986. Caps: 2. Goals 0.

Diaby, who stepped in for Patrick Vieira at Arsenal, is not unlike the former France captain, an efficient mix of athleticism and skills. A holding midfielder full of class, he could reach another level at the World Cup thanks to Vieira's absence.

Jeremy Toulalan (Olympique Lyon). Midfielder. Born Nov. 10 1983. Caps: 31. Goals: 0

A Domenech favourite, Toulalan is a workaholic midfielder who has also occasionally been fielded in central defence by Lyon coach Claude Puel this season, which could be useful if Gallas loses his battle for fitness.

Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid). Midfielder. Born March 10 1985. Caps: 27. Goals: 0.

Pocket-sized holding midfielder of the combative kind, not unlike Claude Makelele who once played that role at Real Madrid. Lost his place in the first team at Real but Domenech still counts on him.

Alou Diarra (Girondins Bordeaux). Midfielder. Born July 15 1981. Caps: 24. Goals: 0

If Lassana Diarra is the new Makelele, then Alou Diarra (no relation) is the new Vieira. After a tough spell at Bayern Munich as a teenager, he matured at several French clubs and lived up to his huge potential after joining Bordeaux in 2007.

Florent Malouda (Chelsea). Midfielder. Born June 13 1980. Caps: 51. Goals 3.

After struggling to adapt at Chelsea, proved his worth this season and was named best player for the Premier League champions by his team mates. Speedy left-footed winger with a taste for brilliant solo runs but also happy to do defensive duties when required.

Yoann Gourcuff (Girondins Bordeaux). Midfielder. Born July 11 1986. Caps: 17. Goals: 1

One of a few players hailed as the next Zinedine Zidane, a tag not easy to live up to. An elegant playmaker with a touch of class, he needs, however, to step up a few gears if he is to emulate the balding maestro.

Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich). Forward. Born April 7 1983. Caps: 42. Goals: 7

Domenech calls him a forward but you can make him a playmaker or a winger. As long as he can show off his skills and race the ball forward, the energetic Ribery will be happy. Heard as a witness by police investigating a prostitution network, the most popular France player since the great Zidane must now show he has character.

Thierry Henry (Barcelona). Forward. Born Aug. 17 1977. Caps: 118. Goals: 51

Excellent at football and occasionally at handball, Henry is the only survivor of France's 1998 World Cup-winning squad, although he did not play in the final. Also France's most prolific striker with 51 goals, the team captain and a substitute at Barca.

Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea). Forward. Born March 14 1979. Caps: 64. Goals: 14.

Once the enfant terrible of French football, he has matured to become their most reliable striker and a crowd-pleaser with his fine moves and unique skills. Ask the Chelsea fans.

Sidney Govou (Olympique Lyon). Forward. Born July 27 1979. Caps: 43. Goals: 10.

A regular member of the France squad since 2002 but rarely a starter, Govou is a tireless winger and a useful goalscorer. Fans at Lyon, his only club, love this cheerful, unassuming character and excuse him for being a party animal.

Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse). Forward. Born Dec. 5 1985. Caps: 10. Goals: 4.

A powerful striker with that instinct for being in the right place at the right time, Gignac burst into the limelight last season, winning his first cap and ending up as top Ligue 1 scorer. Not quite as effective this season, partly because of injury setbacks.

Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos). Forward. Born Aug. 12 1981. Caps: 38. Goals: 9.

The much-travelled, tattooed marksman took a gamble last year by joining Panathinakos. It paid off handsomely, Cisse winning the Greek League title and ending up top scorer to earn a recall.

Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille). Forward. Born Oct. 28 1984. Caps: 0. Goals: 0

Diminutive forward with plenty of skill who used the first half of the season to win his place in the first team at Marseille and the second half to help them claim the title with dazzling displays.

(Writing by Patrick Vignal; Editing by Ed Osmond; To query or comment on this story email