France has announced the 18 players selected for the European Championships. Following two matches each against Belgium and England in the last two weeks, the final selections were completed this weekend.

“After some encouraging results against Belgium, we hit a speed-bump against a quality England side during the week,” said France Head Coach Scott GOODHEART.

“Game one against England can only be described as major wakeup call for the group and was treated as such.  Game two was a much better performance, and I didn’t think the 0-4 score-line fairly reflected the nature of the game,” he said.

Despite the lessons drawn from their recent preparation, the Bleus will need to lift another notch in performance having world numbers three (Spain) and four (Netherlands) in their pool at the European Cup.  These two teams will be joined by the in-form Poland team, who are producing results well above their world number 20 status.

Germany, England, Belgium and Austria make up the other Pool.

Aside from the prestige of the tournament itself, there is added incentive for all teams in that the top four finishers qualify for the 2010 World Cup in India.

The French team for the European Cup sees the re-selection of 16 of the 18 players from the Champions Challenge II team which finished the bronze medal.  Two changes were made to this team, with Lyon goalkeeper Henri LHOMME introduced to the team, and St Germain midfielder Tom GENESTET making his way back into the side.

In a major initiative to give experience to a new group of players, the Bleus have to date played 22 matches in 2009, 16 of which have been official test caps.   There have been ten players making their debut for France in 2009 and three of which, Christoph AMEND (21 years), Henri LHOMME (25 years) and Lucas SEVESTRE (20 years), have made the European Cup team.

“The group is on a new and exciting journey.  After the Olympic Qualifier in February 2008, we had eight senior players retire from the team, and so it has been a process of rebuilding.   I am very happy with the way the older players and younger players have embraced this change together, and are hungry for the opportunity to go forward,” added GOODHEART.

European Cup debutant and 21 year old German based midfielder, Christoph AMEND said “I am pleased to have made the team after making my debut less than two months ago.  I’m also looking forward to having the opportunity to play against the world’s great teams in such a large venue.  We’ve been working hard as a group in the last few months to prepare, and we hope we can start well against Spain on Saturday.”

France will play one final practice game against Olympic Champions Germany before commencing the European Cup tournament on 22 August in Amsterdam.

Team France: DURCHON, Matthieu; JANSEN, Noud; GOURDIN, Thomas; JANSEN, Joost; SCHEEFER, Francois; WILSON, Max; AMEND, Christoph; JEAN JEAN, Sébastien; LHOMME, Henri Julien; SOYEZ, Fréderic; MIGNEAU, Valentin; MONNIER, Nicolas; LANOS, Max; BECUWE, Arnaud; GENESTET, Martin; GENESTET, Tom; SEVESTRE, Lucas; VERRIER, Frederic.

Source: FFH