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Santini seeks striking alternatives

Strikers Louis Saha and Péguy Luyindula are in the France squad for the trip to Belgium.

Saha scoring streak
Saha joined United from Fulham FC in an €18.5m move during the January transfer window, and has already scored three Premiership goals for his new club. The strikes mean Saha has continued his fine form this term, taking his tally for 2003/04 to 16 league goals.

Luyindula steps up
Olympique Lyonnais striker Péguy Luyindula is another new face as France coach Jacques Santini mulls over his attacking options in the wake of Djibril Cissé's five-match ban. The AJ Auxerre forward was suspended by UEFA following his dismissal against Portugal in a UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off game and is almost certain to miss UEFA EURO 2004™.

Anelka ruled out
While Saha and Luyindula have an opportunity to impress, Santini appears to have ruled out Nicolas Anelka's possible return. The Manchester City FC forward last year turned his back on the national team but in recent declarations to the French press he had suggested the wish to rebuild his bridges with Santini.

'Excessive debate'
Santini spoke today of the "excessive debate" surrounding Anelka, a player he felt had "ridiculed this institution and now tries to plot his return". He added: "I repeat that Nicolas Anelka cannot be selected for Belgium-France."

First friendly
France, who will be defending their European title in Portugal this summer, begin their warm-up programme at the Roi Baudoin stadium in Brussels. Santini's side have been drawn in EURO 2004™ Group B, alongside Croatia, Switzerland and England, against whom they kick off their campaign on 13 June.

France squad
Barthez, Coupet, Boumsong, Desailly, Gallas, Lizarazu, Sagnol, Silvestre, Thuram, Dacourt, Makelele, Pires, Rothen, Vieira, Zidane, Govou, Henry, Luyindula, Saha, Trezeguet.