EURO 2016

National defence bleus: Mathieu out of France squad

The Barcelona defender joins Raphael Varane in sick bay for the tournament, but Mamadou Sakho is available after having ban lifted.

National defence bleus: Mathieu out of France squad
© Charles Platiau / Reuters REUTERS

France's defensive woes continued on Saturday when defender Jérémy Mathieu was ruled out of the Euro 2016 finals with a calf injury, coach Didier Deschamps' third backline setback in a month.

Barcelona's versatile defender Mathieu is being replaced in the squad by Samuel Umtiti of Olympique Lyonnais.

Real Madrid centre back Raphael Varane was also ruled out with a thigh injury and Deschamps had omitted Mamadou Sakho after the Liverpool defender's failed drugs test.

Sakho's provisional 30-day suspension, however, will not be extended by UEFA, according to L'Equipe, meaning Deschamps would be free to include him before the May 31 deadline.

Sakho was banned for 30 days after testing positive for an illegal substance following Liverpool's Europa League tie against Manchester United on March 17.

L'Equipe said that Sakho's lawyers had argued that a fat-burner Sakho ingested was not on the list of banned substances, meaning that he was not guilty of doping.

The newspaper said Sakho was free to resume his activities as a professional football player and that he would be officially cleared of any wrongdoing in "the coming days".

France start their campaign on home soil against Romania on June 10, before facing Albania and Switzerland in Group A.