France coach Jacques Santini has named the following squad for the Euro 2004 qualifiers with Malta and Israel.

The biggest surprise is the exclusion of Chelsea pair Marcel Desailly and Emmanuel Petit. Desailly was set to earn his 104th cap, a French record, but he must now wait until the next squad is announced to find out if he will add to that tally. The central defender has been injured since France lost 2-0 by the Czech Republic in a friendly at the Stade de France on February 12.

“Marcel has been having physical problems for several weeks and I need players who are perfectly fit to play,” French coach Jacques Santini told reporters.

The only new cap in the squad is Monaco playmaker Jerome Rothen who is included in the squad for the first time. Rothen described his call up as ‘a dream’ and hopes to make his debut in one of the matches.