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Flamini returns as Vieira fears grow

Mathieu Flamini has been called up as cover by France after captain Patrick Vieira was ruled out of at least the first fixture of their UEFA EURO 2008™ campaign.

Patrick Vieira faces a nervous wait
Patrick Vieira faces a nervous wait ©Getty Images

Mathieu Flamini has been called up as cover by France coach Raymond Domenech amid growing concerns that Bleus captain Patrick Vieira will not be fit for UEFA EURO 2008™. 

The midfielder, who has agreed to join AC Milan from Arsenal FC this summer, had been part of Domenech's provisional 30-man squad but failed to make the final cut. It now looks like he could get his chance after all after being recalled to the French training camp at Clairefontaine as a precaution.

Vieira doubt
Vieira, who turns 32 on 23 June, is suffering from an injury to his left thigh sustained on Friday. The FC Internazionale Milano midfielder will not be fit for the opening game against Romania a week today – and Domenech will wait until the final deadline to decide whether to replace him with Flamini. "I'm neither optimistic nor pessimistic," said the coach. "Just being attentive to whatever can happen and ensuring that the team is fully prepared for a section featuring four great teams. The team not at their prime at kick-off will be in trouble immediately."

Two caps
Flamini, who has been capped twice by France, was initially dropped on 28 May along with Hatem Ben Arfa, Djibril Cissé, Mickaël Landreau, Alou Diarra, Julien Escudé and Philippe Mexès. Domenech, however, asked them to remain on standby as changes can be made before the team's opening game in case of injury.

Rules and regulations
According to Article 16.05 of the Regulations of the UEFA European Football Championship: "In the event of serious injury to a listed player before his team's first match in the final tournament, the player in question may be substituted only if a doctor from the UEFA Medical Committee and the team doctor concerned both confirm that the injury is sufficiently serious to prevent the player from taking part." Les Bleus play Colombia in their final friendly at the Stade de France on Tuesday.