Euro 2020 Rosters: Is France Set to Recall Karim Benzema?

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was expected to be included in France’s preliminary roster for this summer’s European soccer championship on Tuesday, a possible signal of the end of the six-year exile of a player who has been publicly critical of France’s coach, its players and its federation in recent years.

The call-up, Benzema’s first invitation to a national team camp since 2015, ends the six-year separation of France’s team and Benzema, one of the world’s best strikers, a split that began with revelations about a sex tape, grew to include accusations of an extortion plot and festered after the player criticized teammates selected over him and accused top French soccer officials of blackballing him to appease racist elements in French society.

Le Parisien reported Monday that Benzema would be on the roster. By Tuesday, multiple news outlets said they had confirmed the news.

France’s coach, Didier Deschamps, was to formally name his 26-man team later on Tuesday.

Teams have until June 1 to file their final rosters.

Roster sizes have been expanded this year, to 26 players instead of the usual 23, as part of several rules changes related to the coronavirus pandemic.

In another important change, countries are permitted unlimited replacements on their rosters before their first match in cases where a serious injury or illness (including positive coronavirus tests or close contacts requiring isolation periods) renders a player unavailable. But once a player is removed by his team, he cannot be returned to the roster later in the tournament.

Euro 2020 opens on June 11, when Italy hosts Turkey in Rome. The final is July 11 in London.

Almost a dozen teams have released preliminary rosters already. Here’s a roundup.

Group A

Italy

Italy’s 33-player preliminary roster includes the uncapped Sassuolo striker Giacomo Raspadori, 21, and an expected cast of Serie A veterans. But Coach Roberto Mancini has, for now, left off his two Brazil-born Chelsea players, Emerson and Jorginho. Both are expected to be added to the Italy roster after the Champions League final on May 29.

Italy’s team:

Goalkeepers: Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino)

Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Alessandro Florenzi (Paris St.-Germain), Manuel Lazzari (Lazio), Gianluca Mancini (Roma), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma), Rafael Toloi (Atalanta)

Midfielders: Nicolo Barella (Inter), Gaetano Castrovilli (Fiorentina), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Matteo Pessina (Atalanta), Stefano Sensi (Inter), Marco Verratti (Paris St.-Germain)

Forwards: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Vincenzo Grifo (Freiburg), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Moise Kean (Paris St.-Germain), Matteo Politano (Napoli), Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo)

Switzerland

Switzerland has not announced its roster yet.

Turkey

Led by Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu, a spine of Premier League veterans and an in-form Burak Yilmaz, who is on the cusp of a French title with Lille, Turkey’s provisional squad could be its strongest in years.

Turkey’s squad:

Goalkeepers: Mert Gunok (Istanbul Basaksehir), Ugurcan Cakir (Trabzonspor), Altay Bayindir (Fenerbahçe), Gokhan Akkan (Rizespor)

Defenders: Zeki Celik (Lille), Mert Muldur (Sassuolo), Merih Demiral (Juventus), Ozan Kabak (Liverpool), Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester), Kaan Ayhan (Sassuolo), Umut Meras (Le Havre), Ridvan Yilmaz (Besiktas)

Midfielders: Abdulkadir Ömur (Trabzonspor), Cengiz Under (Leicester), Efecan Karaca (Alanyaspor), Halil Akbunar (Goztepe), Dorukhan Tokoz (Besiktas), Irfan Can Kahveci (Fenerbahce), Mahmut Tekdemir (Istanbul Basaksehir), Okay Yokuslu (West Brom), Orkun Kökcu (Feyenoord), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahce), Taylan Antalyali (Galatasaray), Hakan Calhanoglu (A.C. Milan), Yusuf Yazici (Lille)

Forwards: Burak Yilmaz (Lille), Enes Unal (Getafe), Halil Ibrahim Dervisoglu (Galatasaray), Kenan Karaman (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Kerem Akturkoglu (Galatasaray)

Wales

Wales has not announced its roster but it has bigger issues at the moment: Manager Ryan Giggs, the former Manchester United wing, was arrested on charges of domestic violence in April. He has been replaced by one of his assistants, Rob Page.

Group B

Belgium

The provisional squad released on Monday by Manager Roberto Martinez included domestic title-winning stars like Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City and Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan, but also the oft-injured Eden Hazard, who might be a difference maker if he is healthy.

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Matz Sels (Strasbourg)

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Jason Denayer (Lyon), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe), Jan Vertonghen (Benfica)

Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco (Atlético Madrid), Timothy Castagne (Leicester), Nacer Chadli (Istanbul Basaksehir), Thorgan Hazard (Dortmund), Thomas Meunier (Dortmund), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton), Dennis Praet (Leicester), Youri Tielemans (Leicester), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Axel Witsel (Dortmund)

Attackers: Jeremy Doku (Rennes), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Leandro Trossard (Brighton), Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan)

Denmark

Denmark has not announced its roster yet.

Finland

Finland has not announced its roster yet.

Russia

Russia’s 30-man provisional squad included 13 midfielders but only three forwards. Only four of the players, led by Valencia’s Denis Cheryshev, play for clubs outside Russia.

Goalkeepers: Yuri Dyupin (Rubin), Andrei Lunev (Zenit), Matvei Safonov (Krasnodar), Anton Shunin (Dinamo Moscow)

Defenders: Georgi Dzhikiya (Spartak Moscow), Igor Diveev (CSKA Moscow), Roman Yevgenyev (Dinamo Moscow), Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit), Vyacheslav Karavaev (Zenit), Fedor Kudryashov (Antalyaspor), Ilya Samoshnikov (Rubin Kazan), Andrei Semenov (Akhmat)

Midfielders: Dmitri Barinov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Rifat Zhemaletdinov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Maksim Mukhin (Lokomotiv Moscow), Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco), Arsen Zakharyan (Dinamo Moscow), Daniil Fomin (Dinamo Moscow), Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moscow), Alexei Ionov (Krasnodar), Daler Kuzyayev (Zenit), Andrei Mostovoy (Zenit), Magomed Ozdoev (Zenit), Denis Makarov (Rubin), Aleksei Miranchuk (Atalanta), Denis Cheryshev (Valencia)

Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Zenit), Anton Zabolotny (Sochi), Aleksandr Sobolev (Spartak Moscow)

Group C

Austria

Austria has not announced its roster yet.

Netherlands

The headline when the Netherlands released its provisional roster was the absence of defender Virgil van Dijk. One of the best center backs in the world, he has not returned to Liverpool’s team since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in a game against Everton in October.

“I feel physically it is the right decision that I’ve decided not to go to the Euros and to go into my last phase of rehab during the off-season,” he said in an interview with Liverpool’s website. “So the full focus will be on preseason with the club and that’s a realistic goal, so I am looking forward to that.

“I think the decision to not go is the right decision in the grand scheme of things,” he added. “It’s tough, but I’m at peace with it.

The Netherlands roster:

Goalkeepers: Tim Krul (Norwich City); Jasper Cillessen (Valencia); Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax); Marco Bizot (AZ)

Defenders: Kenny Tete (Fulham); Hans Hateboer (Atalanta); Rick Karsdorp (Roma); Joel Veltman (Brighton & Hove Albion); Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace); Nathan Ake (Manchester City); Jurrien Timber (Ajax); Stefan de Vrij (Inter Milan); Owen Wijndal (AZ); Daley Blind (Ajax); Denzel Dumfries (PSV); Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus); Jerry St. Juste (Mainz)

Midfielders: Teun Koopmeiners (AZ); Tonny Vilhena (Krasnodar); Marten de Roon (Atalanta); Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool); Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax); Davy Klaassen (Ajax); Donny van de Beek (Manchester United); Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)

Forwards: Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord); Steven Bergwijn (Tottenham Hotspur); Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa); Cody Gakpo (PSV); Memphis Depay (Lyon); Ryan Babel (Galatasaray); Donyell Malen (PSV); Luuk de Jong (Sevilla); Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow); Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg)

North Macedonia

North Macedonia has not announced its roster yet, though one name — 37-year-old Goran Pandev — is sure to be on it. Pandev made his national team debut in 2001, when the country was still known as Macedonia. It may not be an actual constitutional violation to leave him out of the squad, but why would you?

Ukraine

Like Russia’s squad, Ukraine’s roster is heavy on midfielders and light on forwards.

Goalkeepers: Georgiy Bushchan (Dynamo Kyiv), Andriy Lunin (Real Madrid), Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Anatolii Trubin (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Defenders: Eduard Sobol (Club Brugge), Illia Zabarnyi (Dynamo Kyiv), Viktor Korniienko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Serhiy Kryvtsov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Denys Popov (Dynamo Kyiv), Oleksandr Syrota (Dynamo Kyiv), Oleksandr Tymchyk (Dynamo Kyiv), Bogdan Mykhaylichenko (Anderlecht), Vitaliy Mykolenko (Dynamo Kyiv), Oleksandr Karavaev (Dynamo Kyiv), Mykola Matviyenko (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Midfielders: Serhiy Sydorchuk (Dynamo Kyiv), Volodymyr Shepeliev (Dynamo Kyiv), Ruslan Malinovskyi (Atalanta), Mykola Shaparenko (Dynamo Kyiv), Yevhen Konoplyanka (Shakhtar Donetsk), Marlos (Shakhtar Donetsk), Yevhen Makarenko (Kortrijk), Viktor Kovalenko (Atalanta), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City), Viktor Tsygankov (Dynamo Kyiv), Vitaliy Buyalskiy (Dynamo Kyiv), Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Andriy Yarmolenko (West Ham), Oleksandr Zubkov (Ferencvaros), Heorhii Sudakov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Oleksandr Andriyevskiy (Dynamo Kyiv), Bogdan Lednev (Dynamo Kyiv), Artem Bondarenko (Mariupol)

Forwards: Roman Yaremchuk (Gent), Artem Besedin (Dynamo Kyiv), Artem Dovbyk (Dnipro-1)

Group D

Croatia

A World Cup finalist in 2018, Croatia has never advanced past the quarterfinals at the European Championship. Led by Real Madrid’s Modric, this team might have the talent and the group (England, Czech Republic, Scotland) to end that drought.

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Lovre Kalinic (Hajduk Split), Simon Sluga (Luton Town)

Defenders: Sime Vrsaljko (Atlético Madrid), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Josip Juranovic (Legia Warsaw), Dejan Lovren (Zenit St. Petersburg), Duje Caleta-Car (Olympique Marseille), Borna Barisic (Rangers), Mile Skoric (Osijek), Josko Gvardiol (Dinamo Zagreb), Domagoj Bradaric (Lille)

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Milan Badelj (Genoa), Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea), Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow), Mario Pasalic (Atalanta), Luka Ivanusec (Dinamo Zagreb).

Forwards: Bruno Petkovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Josip Brekalo (Wolfsburg), Ante Rebic (A.C. Milan), Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ante Budimir (Osasuna)

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has not announced its roster yet.

England

England has not announced its roster yet.

Scotland

Scotland has not announced its roster yet but Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie won’t be on it. He said Monday that he had sustained a broken bone in his foot, ending his Premier League season and ruling him out of the Euros.

Group E

Poland

Goalkeepers: Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham), Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus), Lukasz Skorupski (Bologna)

Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton), Bartosz Bereszynski (Sampdoria), Pawel Dawidowicz (Verona), Kamil Glik (Benevento), Michal Helik (Barnsley), Tomasz Kedziora (Dynamo Kyiv), Kamil Piatkowski (Rakow Czestochowa), Tymoteusz Puchacz (Lech Poznan), Maciej Rybus (Lokomotiv Moscow)

Midfielders: Przemyslaw Frankowski (Chicago Fire), Kamil Jozwiak (Derby), Mateusz Klich (Leeds), Kacper Kozlowski (Pogon Szczecin), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Lokomotiv Moscow), Karol Linetty (Torino), Jakub Moder (Brighton), Przemysław Płacheta (Norwich), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)

Forwards: Dawid Kownacki (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern München), Arkadiusz Milik (Marseille), Karol Swiderski (PAOK), Jakub Swierczok (Piast Gliwice)

Slovakia

Slovakia has not announced its roster yet.

Spain

Spain has not announced its roster, and Coach Luis Enrique appears to be in no hurry. He does not expect to name his team until May 27, only days before the deadline for the tournament.

Sweden

Sweden has not announced its roster yet but its biggest star, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is out. Sweden’s coach, Janne Andersson, said a knee injury had rendered the A.C. Milan star unavailable.

Ibrahimovic, who has had an on-again, off-again relationship with Sweden’s national team, came out of international retirement in March after an absence of almost five years, hoping to take part in at least one more major event.

Group F

France

France was to announce its preliminary roster on Tuesday, amid speculation that it would include Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who despite his glittering record in La Liga and the Champions League has not played for his country since he was arrested for his role in a blackmail plot of a teammate in 2015.

The French newspaper Le Parisien reported on Monday that Benzema would be named to the early roster by Coach Didier Deschamps, who has steadfastly refused to bring him back to the team for years. Deschamps was stung in 2016 when, in the wake of the blackmail scandal and on the eve of Euro 2016 in France, Benzema lashed out at his exclusion from the squad by charging that the federation had surrendered to “racist” elements in France who did not want him on the team.

Even if he is included, though, it is unclear if Benzema would have a starring role. Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé, Kingsley Coman, Olivier Giroud and Anthony Martial give Deschamps plenty of options up front.

Germany

Germany will announce its roster on Wednesday, but one player has already said he is out: Goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen wrote on Twitter on Monday that he would not take part in the Euros so he could get medical treatment on his knee. Ter Stegen, who plays for Barcelona, had been expected to serve as the backup to Germany’s No. 1, Manuel Neuer.

Hungary

In this group, it’s probably best to get an early look at Hungary before they are gone. They may also become the rare team in the tournament with an M.L.S. player in its traveling party: their new 20-year-old signing, Szabolcs Schön.

Goalkeepers: Adam Bogdan (Ferencvaros), Denes Dibusz (Ferencvaros), Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig), Balazs Tóth (Puskas Akademia)

Defenders: Bendegúz Bolla (Fehervar), Endre Botka (Ferencvaros), Attila Fiola (Fehervar), Szilveszter Hangya (Fehervar), Akos Kecskes (Lugano), Adam Lang (Omonoia), Gergo Lovrencsics (Ferencvaros), Willi Orban (RB Leipzig), Csaba Spandler (Puskas Akademia), Attila Szalai (Fenerbahce)

Midfielders: Tamas Cseri (Mezokovesd), Daniel Gazdag (Budapest Honved), Filip Holender (Partizan), Laszlo Kleinheisler (Osijek), Adam Nagy (Bristol City), Loïc Nego (Fehervar), Andras Schäfer (Dunajska Streda), David Siger (Ferencvaros), Dominik Szoboszlai (RB Leipzig)

Forwards: Janos Hahn (Paks), Nemanja Nikolic (Fehervar), Roland Sallai (Freiburg), Szabolcs Schön (Dallas), Adam Szalai (Mainz), Kevin Varga (Kasimpasa), Roland Varga (MTK Budapest)

Portugal

Portugal plans to announce its roster on Thursday. Yes, you can rest assured that Pepe will be on it. That other guy, too.

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