Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer have been ruled out of Germany's first match under new head coach Hansi Flick.

Bayern Munich attacker Muller has returned to his club for treatment on an adductor problem, which will see him miss the games with Liechtenstein, Armenia and Iceland over the next week.

Club-mate Neuer has missed training this week with a minor ankle issue, meanwhile, and will be replaced by Bernd Leno in goal for Thursday's meeting with Liechtenstein.

But Flick, who took over as Germany boss following the exit of long-serving Joachim Low, is hopeful of having Neuer back for the visit of Armenia three days later. 

"We assume that 'Manu' will be back for Sunday," Flick said at a news conference on Wednesday previewing the Group J clash with minnows Liechtenstein.

"Everyone could see that he did not take part in practice. He won't be available for the match against Liechtenstein and Bernd Leno will take his place. 

"Thomas Muller will leave the camp. He's got an injury to the adductors. This won't heal fast enough for Sunday or next Wednesday. 

"Wednesday could have actually worked out according to our doctor, but the risk was simply too high. 

"He would not have been able to do a lot of work in practice which is why it makes sense to send him home. We have enough players on board and are able to replace him."

Thursday's match in St. Gallen will be Germany's first without Low in charge since July 2006, the World Cup-winning coach having officially stepped down after his nation's last-16 loss to England at Euro 2020. 

Flick previously worked as Low's assistant for eight years until after Germany's World Cup success in Brazil when leaving to become Die Mannschaft's sporting director.

He has more recently spent time in charge of Bayern and helped the Bavarian giants to seven major honours across two seasons.

The 56-year-old is now tasked with lifting Germany after a disappointing end to the Low tenure, which included a shock 2-1 home loss to North Macedonia in their most recent qualifier five months ago.

"I'm looking forward to my first international game and the responsibility for the nation," said Flick, who has still yet to decide who will captain the side.

"During the first training sessions we saw exactly what we imagined. The team was active and showed enormous intensity and quality. 

"What I liked was that they immediately tried to correct their mistakes, went into pressing straight after a lost ball. The whole coaching staff was extremely happy about that. 

"Those are the things we want to see: a mentality on the pitch where you can see from the beginning that the team is giving everything they have for Germany. 

"This is crucial for me. It was nice to see. That's why we are totally convinced of this team."

Flick is now an established manager in his own right, but he is open to taking inspiration from others as he embarks on his first managerial job on the international stage.

"All players have great coaches. Thomas Tuchel is doing exceptional work at Chelsea, Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, Marco Rose at Borussia Dortmund. I can name them all," he said. 

"All of them have an idea of football which is close to ours. We can implement certain parts in our game to improve. That is crucial. The communication with the coaches is top, I enjoy it very much. 

"We adapt from time to time. The decisive thing is that everyone is open to our idea of football and what we want to play. I was able to see that during the training sessions we've had so far."

Germany are third in Group J after three rounds of matches, level on points with North Macedonia and three points behind surprise pacesetters Armenia, with only the group winner guaranteed a place at Qatar 2022.

Gareth Southgate warned England must "start again" ahead of two "hugely challenging" World Cup qualifiers away to Hungary and Poland in the next week.

Southgate says the Three Lions have grown in confidence as a result of a run to the final of Euro 2020.

England have turned their attention to qualifying for the World Cup in Doha next year following the heartbreak of losing to Italy in the final of the European Championship at Wembley.

They lead Group I with a 100 per cent record from three matches, but face a big test against second-placed Hungary at the Puskas Arena on Thursday.

England face Andorra at Wembley on Sunday before a trip to take on Poland at the Stadion Narodowy next Wednesday.

Three Lions boss Southgate, who revealed winger Jadon Sancho is being assessed after taking a "small knock" in training, urged his side to kick on after they came agonisingly close to Euro 2020 glory on home soil.

"The players have gained confidence from what they've achieved [at Euro 2020] and the progress that they've made, not only this summer but over the last four years," he said.

"Equally, we have to start again. The chance to have another run like that is under way. Mentally, it's a very big test for us, we've got to go away from home now, 60,000 fans, they're a very good team to play against.

"We've got to be able to pick results up away from home. The two away games this week will be hugely challenging – two good teams and pivotal games in terms of qualification.

"Hungary are a good side, they've taken points off Poland, they took a point off France in the summer and off Germany."

Southgate added of the threat posed by Hungary: "If we allow them to play, they can play. If we dominate possession, they are very resilient.

"France had that problem, and it took Portugal over 80 minutes to score [against Hungary] in the summer. They are a very well organised team and we've got to be at our very best."

Southgate wants England to take charge of the group by stepping up in Budapest and Warsaw.

He said: "It is an important opportunity for us. If you can take points off your nearest challengers in their own home, then it puts us in a really strong position and we'd be in control of the group."

The first international break of the 2021-22 campaign has arrived, and with it comes an opportunity for many national teams to start afresh.

Following the conclusion of the Copa America, Gold Cup and Euro 2020 in quick succession, all roads now lead to the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

For a number of players, the September qualifiers provide an opportunity to make an impression, while for others it is potentially a first taste of international football. 

With the games coming thick and fast over the next week or so, Stats Perform has looked at those in contention to make their senior international debuts.

Albert Sambi Lokonga (Belgium)

Belgium's golden generation of talent missed another opportunity to turn promise into something more tangible when losing to eventual winners Italy in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.

Roberto Martinez has decided against wholesale changes after that disappointment, with Lokonga the only outfield player in line for his first cap, having failed to get further than the bench – against Greece in June – after previous call-ups.

A product of the same Anderlecht youth system that oversaw the development of Romelu Lukaku, Youri Tielemans and Leander Dendoncker, among others, Lokonga sealed a move to Arsenal in July after impressing in the Belgian top flight.

The £15million signing has not had the best of starts to life at Arsenal, the Gunners finding themselves bottom of the English top-flight table having played at least three league matches for the first time since October 1974.

Lokonga, noted for his ability to play in front of the defence, featured in just two of those games yet still trails Granit Xhaka alone in terms of passes (113 to 139) and successful passes (97 to 118) and is behind only Sead Kolasinac for interceptions.

 

Claudinho (Brazil)

Citing concerns over the availability of his European-based contingent due to clubs being reluctant to release players to red-list countries, Tite has named a bloated Brazil squad for this month's triple-header of World Cup qualifiers.

Those complications appear set to deny Raphinha a debut, having impressed during his first year in the Premier League with Leeds United. 

Raphinha ranks seventh in the division for dribbles attempted since the start of last season (142), completing 42.96 per cent of those. He also ranks in the top 10 for chances created over that period with 68.

But Claudinho remains in line to be capped for the first time, called up after helping his country secure Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020.

The midfielder, whose signing at Zenit was announced not long after the Olympic tournament had concluded, described his call-up as "a dream come true".

Theo Hernandez and Moussa Diaby (France)

It is out with the old and in with the new as far as France's first post-Euros squad is concerned – to an extent, at least, with Olivier Giroud one of nine players to make way from the previous group named by Didier Deschamps.

Injuries have also played a part in that, potentially giving a quartet of uncapped players the chance to impress in the upcoming qualifiers with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine and Finland.

Hernandez, a more natural left-back option than brother Lucas, will feel his first call-up is long overdue following back-to-back campaigns as a regular for Milan, whom he joined from Real Madrid. 

Since making his Rossoneri bow in September 2019, no defender in Serie A has completed more dribbles than Hernandez (133), while only Federico Dimarco (87) and Juan Cuadrado (107) have created more chances than his 86.

Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni and Roma's Jordan Veretout may also feature during this international break, but perhaps the most exciting of the new additions is Bayer Leverkusen winger Diaby.

The Paris Saint-Germain product scored twice and assisted another in Leverkusen's opening two Bundesliga games of 2021-22, while Alphonso Davies is the only player in the division to have attempted more dribbles this term (24 to his 22).

Known for his blistering pace and ability to take on opponents, Diaby could well provide Deschamps with a different option in an attack already packed full of talent.

 

Otavio (Portugal)

Three new players have been called up by Fernando Santos, who is looking to the future after his Portugal side's reign as European champions came to an end in July.

Goncalo Inacio is injured, but Diogo Costa and Otavio could each make their senior debuts during this international window, with the latter the name on many lips right now.

Otavio has tallied 11 goal involvementss in each of the past two Primeira Liga campaigns for Porto and has made a fast start to the new season with two assists in his first four games.

Since the start of last season, only team-mate Mehdi Taremi has provided more assists (12) in the Portuguese top flight than Otavio's 10, coming from 51 chances created.

The Brazilian-born attacking midfielder was granted Portuguese citizenship earlier this year and will be eager to show that Brazil's loss is very much Portugal's gain should he get some minutes over the next week.

Ricardo Pepi (United States)

The dual-national drama surrounding Pepi appears to have reached a resolution as the FC Dallas forward has seemingly pledged his allegiance to the United States over Mexico.

After breaking into the Dallas side two years ago and featuring regularly last year, 2021 has been quite the season for the El Paso-born youngster.

Pepi, who does not turn 19 until next January, has 11 goals and two assists in 21 games this term and scored the decisive kick in last week's penalty shoot-out win for MLS against their Liga MX counterparts in the All-Star Game.

He has 13 MLS goals in total, the fourth-most ever by a teenager – ahead of Freddy Adu – and just nine short of the record held by Diego Fagundez.

On the basis of the past four months in particular, the USMNT could have a potentially world-class player to lead their line for a number of years to come.

 

Karim Adeyemi (Germany)

For the first time in 17 years, Germany will play a match without Joachim Low in their dugout either as assistant or head coach when they face Liechtenstein on Thursday.

Hansi Flick is tasked with ushering in a new generation of German talents, with help from the old guard, many of whom were key to his successful spell at Bayern Munich.

Away from regulars such as Thomas Muller, Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich and Manuel Neuer, Flick has included four uncapped players in his first squad – David Raum, Nico Schlotterbeck, Florian Wirtz and Adeyemi.

A technically gifted and supremely fast winger, Adeyemi has long been considered one of Germany's most promising young players, having cost Salzburg a reported €3m when he was 16.

Adeyemi, who left Bayern six years earlier, has been given the chance to spread his wings with Salzburg and has been strongly linked with Red Bull sister club RB Leipzig.

He already has six goals in six Austrian Bundesliga appearances this term, just one less than he managed in 29 top-flight appearances last time out – a return he will be looking to build on if he is given the nod by Flick.

Justin Bijlow (Netherlands)

The Netherlands are another European heavyweight going through a transitional period of sorts after turning to veteran coach Louis van Gaal for a third stint in charge.

Frank de Boer failed to get the most out of this talented Dutch squad and already Van Gaal has put his own mark on the team by calling up a few newbies.

There will be plenty of focus on the goalkeeping position as, with Jasper Cillessen not fully fit and Maarten Stekelenburg recently retiring, Joel Drommel and Bijlow can stake a claim to be the long-term number one.

Bijlow is considered one of the finest young goalkeepers in Europe and already has 45 Eredivisie games under his belt for Feyenoord, where he is a real fan favourite.

The 23-year-old has kept 15 clean sheets across those appearances and boasts a save percentage of 72.16. Van Gaal can seemingly rely on the young stopper, as he has made just one error leading to a goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo will play in all three of Portugal's fixtures during the international break following his return to Manchester United, head coach Fernando Santos said.

Ronaldo completed his United comeback on Tuesday, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner re-joining the Red Devils from Juventus for a second spell following his successful first stint at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009.

Amid the hype in Manchester, Ronaldo's attention has swiftly turned to matters with Portugal as Santos' men prepare to face Republic of Ireland on Wednesday.

Portugal will also meet Qatar in a friendly on Saturday before resuming their road to Qatar 2022 against Azerbaijan on Tuesday.

As Ronaldo stands on the cusp of breaking his tie with Ali Daei for the most international goals in men's football (109), Santos confirmed the 36-year-old's availability.

"I am interested in [Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes'] motivation while playing for the national team. You're a British journalist, you can ask them about Manchester United when they are back at their club," Santos told reporters.

"For me, the important thing is that they will be focused on the national team. I can say that they are motivated for the three matches we have ahead of us.

"There is no doubt that Ronaldo and all the players are able to play against Ireland. I understand all the attention we get because of him. He is going to play in three matches.

"We will have to manage some things, mostly in the second match, we will have to manage things. It will not be easy for the players to play three matches in seven days.

"We have to manage them across all the games, but mostly the second. It is always important because it is a national team match."

Formerly a dazzling winger but now a penalty-box poacher, Ronaldo has netted 674 times across 895 club games in all competitions, averaging a goal every 108 minutes.

Those 674 goals break down into 122 with his supposedly weaker left foot, 110 with his head and 440 with his favoured right boot.

Following his arrival as a fresh-faced teenager from Sporting in 2003, he scored 118 times for United across 292 appearances before his departure in 2009.

Between his entrance on the Premier League stage and his final appearance in May 2009, Frank Lampard (131) and Thierry Henry (124) are the only two to have a hand in more English top-flight goals than Ronaldo (118) – Henry (92) the only one to outscore Ronaldo's 84.

Ronaldo is a five-time winner of the Champions League, leading the all-time scoring charts with 134 goals in 176 games – 14 ahead of second place, and eternal rival, Lionel Messi.

France will be without N'Golo Kante for their World Cup qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday, Didier Deschamps has confirmed.

The Chelsea midfielder aggravated an ankle injury during the 1-1 draw with Liverpool at the weekend.

Sitting top of Group D with seven points from three games, Les Bleus resume their World Cup qualifying campaign with a trio of fixtures in early September.

However, the reigning world champions will be unable to call upon Kante for the first of those, which takes place in Strasbourg.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, head coach Deschamps said: "Kante will be too soon for tomorrow. 

"There are too many risks; he will not be used tomorrow."

 

Meanwhile, Hugo Lloris believes Kylian Mbappe will not be bothered by the recent speculation linking him with a blockbuster move to Real Madrid.

The forward has made a bright start to the Ligue 1 season with three goals in Paris Saint-Germain's first four games, including a brace in Sunday's 2-0 win over Reims as Lionel Messi made his debut for the club.

"As you could see, he was very focused in the last game. He is very professional," Lloris said.

"He was decisive in the first four matches. It shows that he respects his club and is ready to perform. 

"There is a lot of agitation around him, it's normal, but he knows how to make the difference to help the French team."

France are looking to bounce back having exited Euro 2020 in the round of 16 following defeat to Switzerland on penalties.

Lloris revealed that following positive discussions within the camp, he and his team-mates are hungry to make amends with a fresh approach.

"We highlighted what was less successful, but there were also good things –especially in the group stage – which were quite successful," the goalkeeper added.

"We switch to something new, fresh. Everyone must participate in giving a new impetus.

"We are positive. We have very little time to prepare for the match, but there is desire."

Virgil van Dijk was flattered by Erling Haaland's belief the Netherlands captain is "the best defender" in the world.

The pair are set to face off when the Oranje travel to Norway for their 2022 World Cup qualifier on Wednesday.

An intriguing duel should challenge both players, with Haaland full of praise for Van Dijk when he addressed the media on Monday.

"I think he is the best defender. I think quite a few others in the room agree with me on that," the Borussia Dortmund forward said.

"He is fast, strong and smart, and those are three important things you must have."

Those comments were on Tuesday put to Van Dijk, who replied: "Did he say that? That's nice of him."

The Liverpool man is relishing his return to the international stage, having missed Euro 2020 due to injury.

"I'm incredibly happy that I'm here again, with the guys, working towards a very important game," Van Dijk said.

"Everyone is sharp, looking forward to playing. Everyone is focused, which is great to see."

This will also be the Netherlands' first game since the return of Louis van Gaal, who is back for a third spell in charge.

Norway are tied with the visitors on six points from three games in Group G, one shy of early leaders Turkey.

Kylian Mbappe's future is not being discussed within the France squad amid strong links to Real Madrid, according to Les Bleus duo Moussa Diaby and Aurelien Tchouameni.

Madrid have reportedly been in negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain in a bid to prise Mbappe from the Ligue 1 giants to the LaLiga powerhouse, though a transfer is yet to materialise.

Mbappe has one year remaining on his contract but Madrid are determined to sign the 22-year-old – who has scored 133 goals in 174 games for PSG, at a rate of one goal every 102.46 minutes – before the end of the transfer window.

The intense speculation comes with Mbappe away on international duty as France prepare for three World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina (Wednesday), Ukraine (Saturday) and Finland (September 7).

When asked about Mbappe's future, Diaby – who could make his France debut – told reporters: "I spoke with Kylian. He congratulated me on my first call up.

"We ate, we laughed together. We didn't talk about his future. His situation is his own business. I have nothing to say about that."

Diaby played alongside Mbappe at PSG before the 22-year-old left the French capital for Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in 2019.

"He is an extraordinary player," Diaby said. "I don't think that Kylian is still considered a 'youngster' because of what he does on the pitch.

"I have to take a leaf out of his book and ask him for some advice to reach my full potential. Try to be like Kylian. When he came the first time, it couldn't have been easy either. By asking him for some advice, everything can go well for me."

Monaco's Tchouameni, who also received his first international call-up amid links with Chelsea and Manchester United, added: "Quite honestly, we didn't talk about that [Mbappe's future].

"We talked about the different results of our teams in the last weekend. We didn't talk about the transfer market with Kylian anyway."

Aurelien Tchouameni said he is inspired by Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante as the Monaco sensation continues to be linked with Chelsea and Manchester United.

Tchouameni is reportedly wanted by Premier League giants Chelsea and United following his exploits in Ligue 1.

Before the weekend's fixtures, the 21-year-old midfielder ranked first in possessions won (209) and tackles won (52) in the top five European leagues in 2021, while he was tied for fifth in duels won (221).

Tchouameni's performances under Niko Kovac earned a France call-up for the first time as Les Bleus face Bosnia-Herzegovina in a World Cup qualifier on Wednesday before continuing their road to Qatar 2022 against Ukraine on Saturday and Finland on September 7.

Amid speculation over his future heading into the international break, Tchouameni was asked about his inspirations, and he told reporters: "I followed a lot what [United midfielder] Paul [Pogba] was doing. Since he started his career.

"Now I have the chance to be with him and [Chelsea midfielder] N'Golo [Kante]. They are players who are very successful at their clubs, so I try to see what they do and take inspiration from their strong characteristics.

"There are also some players I didn't get to see play at the time, like Patrick Vieira. Foreign players too, like [Manchester City and Belgium midfielder] Kevin De Bruyne. I try to look at everything that is good in the midfield and their characteristics to inspire me."

Meanwhile, France head coach Didier Deschamps will be without Dayot Upamecano for the three World Cup qualifiers after the Bayern Munich centre-back suffered a right thigh injury.

Upamecano has been replaced in the squad by Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet.

Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been ruled out of the England squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers due to a thigh strain.

Calvert-Lewin did the damage in a 2-0 Premier League win at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

The 24-year-old, who scored his third goal in as many top-fight games this season against the Seagulls, underwent a scan and has been forced to pull out of the squad.

Gareth Southgate has not called up a replacement, so the Euro 2020 runners-up will have a 24-man squad for the three qualifiers.

The Three Lions face Hungary at the Puskas Arena on Thursday before taking on Andorra at Wembley three days later and travel to face Poland at the Stadion Narodowy a week on Wednesday.

England are top of Group I with three wins out of three, leading Hungary by two points.

Hansi Flick has handed three players their maiden international call-ups as he named his first squad as Germany coach for next month's World Cup qualifiers.

Flick ended an 18-month, trophy-laden spell at Bayern Munich in order to take over from Joachim Low as Germany boss after Euro 2020.

Germany reached the last 16 of that tournament, crashing out to England at Wembley.

World Cup-winning midfielder Toni Kroos has since retired from international duty, though the rest of Germany's squad remains largely intact.

Liechtenstein, Armenia and Iceland represent Flick's first opponents, and he has given Karim Adeyemi, Nico Schlotterbeck and David Raum their first call-ups.

The squad, as would be expected given Bayern's dominance of German football, includes eight players from Flick's former club, while Borussia Dortmund attacker Marco Reus has earned a recall after opting out of Euro 2020.

Thomas Muller – who was ostracised by Low before being recalled for Euro 2020 – Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala, Joshua KImmich, Leon Goretzka, Niklas Sule, and Manuel Neuer make up the Bayern contingent.

Wolfsburg's exciting right-back prospect Ridle Baku, who has made one friendly appearance for Germany, has also returned to the fold, as has Bayer Leverkusen youngster Florian Wirtz.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Thilo Kehrer is something of a surprise inclusion, while Dortmund's Mahmoud Dahoud has been given the chance to impress in Kroos' absence.

Mats Hummels misses out through injury, while Matthias Ginter recently tested positive for coronavirus.

Germany squad in full:

Bernd Leno (Arsenal), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt); Ridle Baku (Wolfsburg), Robin Gosens (Atalanta), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig), David Raum (Hoffenheim), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich); Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Florian Neuhaus (Borussia Monchengladbach), Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen); Karim Adeyemi (Salzburg), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich), Timo Werner (Chelsea).

France head coach Didier Deschamps said Kylian Mbappe's transfer saga is "not deal" as Les Bleus prepare for upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Mbappe wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are reportedly trying to reach an agreement with the Ligue 1 giants.

Despite Mbappe being out of contract at the end of the season, Madrid are believed to have offered €180million for the France international.

As world champions France gear up for qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina (September 1), Ukraine (September 4) and Finland (September 7) on the road to Qatar 2022, Deschamps was asked about Madrid target Mbappe.

"I can't answer for [Kylian Mbappe]," Deschamps told reporters. "It is better to ask him the questions [on his future].

"The only factual thing is that the transfer market closes on Tuesday. The September games are brought forward and that coincides with the day before the game for us. Is that ideal? Obviously not. I'm not going to fight with that.

"Kylian, as well as other players, may be in a situation where they have to change clubs. I will try to be conciliatory as much as possible because their future is at stake. It's their decision, it's their career.

"I am not in their shoes, I can at most give an opinion. The decision is theirs."

Mbappe has scored 133 goals and provided 58 assists across 174 games over four years at PSG since arriving from Monaco.

The 22-year-old's 191 goal involvements since his debut rank third among players in Europe's top five leagues in that time, behind Messi (236) and Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski (213).

Mbappe was on target as Mauricio Pochettino's PSG overcame Brest 4-2 in Ligue 1 last week.

PSG's Mbappe scored his fourth Ligue 1 headed goal, his first with for club and his first since March 2017 with Monaco at Caen.

Mbappe has been decisive in eight consecutive Ligue 1 games (eight goals, three assists), his second-best run in the top-flight, behind February-November 2020 (10).

A World Cup winner, Mbappe has scored 17 goals in 48 appearances for France since debuting in 2017.

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford has received a first England call-up for three World Cup qualifiers next month.

Bamford has been given the nod by Gareth Southgate for the games against Hungary, Andorra and Poland.

The 27-year-old scored 17 goals in 38 games for Leeds on their return to the Premier League last season.

Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope were also named in a 25-man squad after missing Euro 2020 due to injury, while Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard has been recalled.

There is no place for United's in-form teenage forward Mason Greenwood or Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell.

England boss Southgate said "This is a fresh cycle. We were never looking to make a lot of changes. Ben White has had a situation with COVID [the Arsenal defender tested positive], Ben Chilwell hasn't played a game since the Champions League final.

"Those two are ruled out. [Phil] Foden and [Marcus] Rashford injured. We were very pleased with Ollie Watkins, now it's an opportunity for Patrick. His progress at Leeds has been excellent. We've worked with him at Under-21, it's a fabulous moment for him and his family."

The Three Lions, beaten by Italy in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley last month, face Hungary at the Puskas Arena on September 2 before taking on Andorra at Wembley three days later and travel to Poland's Stadion Narodowy on September 8.

England are top of Group I with three wins out of three, leading Hungary by two points.

 

England squad: Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Coady (Wolves), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham United); Patrick Bamford (Leeds United), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

Olivier Giroud was dropped by France boss Didier Deschamps on Thursday in a move that casts early doubt on the striker's World Cup prospects.

The decision to omit France's second highest goalscorer of all time was taken by Deschamps ahead of the three World Cup qualifiers that await Les Bleus in early September.

Giroud, who turns 35 at the end of next month, has scored seven times for his country in the past 12 months but did not find the net at Euro 2020.

Pre-tournament comments, which were interpreted as Giroud criticising Kylian Mbappe, saw the veteran forward complain of a lack of service.

Mbappe was disappointed with those remarks, particularly with Giroud making them in public rather than in the dressing room, and it remains to be seen whether they have played their last game together at international level.

Les Bleus were favourites going into Euro 2020 but went on to lose on penalties to Switzerland in the second round, and now they must focus on qualifying for the World Cup, as holders.

They face Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine and Finland in the first seven days of September.

Speaking about Giroud, who has swapped Chelsea for Milan since last season, Deschamps said: "It's my choice today. It's up to Olivier to perform, he's still available.

"His situation has changed with his transfer to Milan, where he's found a lot more game time."

Giroud insisted during the European Championship that he intended to play on for France beyond the tournament.

"I'm not finished, far from it. Count on me, grandpa is not dead!" Giroud, who was one of the key members of France's World Cup-winning squad in 2018, told Le Figaro.

"I'm almost 35 but have the hunger of a 20-year-old guy. I know how to do it with the team."

Deschamps handed first call-ups on Thursday to Giroud's Milan team-mate, left-back Theo Hernandez, Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni and Roma playmaker Jordan Veretout, along with Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby.

He also recalled Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, who has been involved in both Premier League games for the Red Devils this season after overcoming a long-term injury, and Bayern Munich defender Dayot Upamecano.

France squad: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mike Maignan (Milan), Steve Mandanda (Marseille); Lucas Digne (Everton), Leo Dubois (Lyon), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Jules Kounde (Sevilla), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Manchester United), Theo Hernandez (Milan), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea); N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Aurelien Tchouameni (Monaco), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich), Jordan Veretout (Roma); Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain).

Luis Enrique insists there is nobody better than Pep Guardiola to succeed him as Spain's next head coach.

Guardiola revealed this week he intends to leave Manchester City when his contract expires at the end of next season and explore opportunities at international level.

Spain could be on the lookout for a new leader at that point, with Luis Enrique's deal set to expire after the next World Cup at the end of 2022.

The La Roja job would be an obvious choice for Guardiola, who won 47 caps for his country, and Luis Enrique would be happy to see his former team-mate take up the role.

"I would love that. It would be perfect to see his mark on the national team," Luis Enrique said at a news conference on Thursday.

"I don't think Spain could have a better coach than Pep Guardiola. I'm sure he would do a great job."

Luis Enrique was speaking after naming his squad for Spain's World Cup qualifiers against Sweden, Georgia and Kosovo over the next fortnight.

Like at Euro 2020, there are no Real Madrid players in Spain's 24-man group, while Sergio Ramos – who has since joined Paris Saint-Germain – is once again absent.

Ramos has not played since May and ex-Barcelona boss Luis Enrique, previously accused of showing anti-Madrid bias, has defended his latest team selection.

"The situation with Sergio is the same as last season," he said. "Sergio has not been able to compete in a single game since we gave the last list.

"As for the selection, my actions respond better than my words."

Euro 2020 semi-finalists Spain have won two and drawn one of their opening three World Cup qualifiers and lead the way at the top of Group B.

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara has been left out of Spain's squad for their triple-header of September fixtures.

Thiago made four substitute appearances for Spain in their run to the semi-finals of the European Championship finals, but the 30-year-old – who has just nine minutes of Premier League action under his belt this term – has been overlooked for selection.

Pedri is another notable absentee from Luis Enrique's 24-man squad, though that was expected as the Barcelona midfielder has been given a rest following his participation at Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics.

Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal and Pau Torres, three other members of Spain's Olympic contingent, will also be given a breather over the first international break of the season.

Fabian Ruiz and Diego Llorente, of Napoli and Leeds United respectively, are the others to have dropped out of Spain's squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Sweden, Georgia and Kosovo over the next fortnight.

Like at Euro 2020, Luis Enrique has decided against calling up any Real Madrid players, meaning no place in the squad for Dani Carvajal, Marco Asensio and Nacho Fernandez.

Abel Ruiz, Brais Mendez, Pablo Fornals, Mikel Merino and Carlos Soler have all been called up, while Inigo Martinez and Raul Albiol are also included.

La Roja have won two and drawn one of their first three qualifiers and lead the way at the top of Group B ahead of their upcoming trio of matches.

 

Spain squad in full:

David de Gea, Robert Sanchez; Unai Simon; Aymeric Laporte, Cesar Azpilicueta, Eric Garcia, Inigo Martinez, Jordi Alba, Jose Gaya, Raul Albiol; Brais Mendez, Carlos Soler, Koke, Marcos Llorente, Mikel Merino, Pablo Sarabia, Rodri, Sergio Busquets; Abel Ruiz, Adama Traore, Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres, Gerard Moreno, Pablo Fornals

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