Raymond Domenech has called up Nicolas Anelka after France captain Patrick Vieira picked up an injury in training yesterday which threatens his involvement in the UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifiers against Scotland and the Faroe Islands.
The FC Internazionale Milano midfielder collided with team-mate Lilian Thuram in a practice match at Clairefontaine and will have a scan today to determine the extent of his ankle injury. Vieira joins William Gallas (thigh), Louis Saha (groin and hamstring) and Willy Sagnol (fatigue) on the sidelines, with none of that trio having trained this week in the run-up to what promises to be a testing fixture in Glasgow on Saturday. Sébastien Squillaci of Olympique Lyonnais has been drafted in to provide defensive cover, while club-mate Sidney Govou has dropped out with an ankle problem.
Bolton Wanderers FC forward Anelka has scored seven goals in 31 appearances for Les Bleus, the last of which came in a 2-1 home defeat by Slovakia on 1 March - the only loss of Domenech's reign. Despite the 27-year-old Anelka's late call, Saha is optimistic of partnering Thierry Henry at Hampden Park. "I still have some physical problems but I hope I'll be OK," said the Manchester United FC striker, whose three goals have made him joint-top scorer in the UEFA Champions League after two rounds of matches.
Domenech has compared Saturday's game to the 1-0 victory against the Republic of Ireland last September which proved decisive in France's qualification for the FIFA World Cup. "We can expect a challenge similar to the one we faced when we played Ireland in Dublin," he said. "The only difference is that we don't have a knife at our throat. A win will not be so important against Scotland but when you cast an eye at the schedule of the group's matches, the sooner you reap points, the better." Both France and Scotland have maximum points from their opening two Group B outings.
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