Newcastle United stars Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye have been named in France’s provisional Euro 2012 squad of players based abroad.
Coach Laurent Blanc has until May 29th to name his final squad for the tournament, but opted to inform those plying their trade outside France of their inclusion this week.
The selection of Ben Arfa is particularly significant, as the winger has not featured for Les Bleus since winning the last of his seven caps in a 3-1 success over Tunisia in 2008.
His call-up surely represents a nod from Blanc to a series of superb performances in the Magpies’ unexpected push for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
The same is no doubt true of Cabaye, although he did feature prominently in France’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
In all, there are 12 players on Blanc’s overseas list, including Man City stars Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri, Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny, Man Utd left-back Patrice Evra, Tottenham centre-back Younes Kaboul and Chelsea winger Florent Malouda.
Blanc will then name his domestic-based squad members next Tuesday before trimming his group to 23 for the tournament itself.
France are currently rated as fourth favourites in bwin’s Euro 2012 winner betting market at odds of 11/1, behind Spain and Germany (both 11/4) and Holland (7/1).
In other words, anyone backing Les Bleus to win Euro 2012 with their free £25 bet for registering will pocket a cool £250 if they go on to lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy in Kiev on July 1st.
Blanc’s charges open their campaign with an eagerly-anticipated clash with England on June 11th, before facing co-hosts Ukraine and then Sweden in their bid to escape Group D.
Preliminary France Euro 2012 squad of players based abroad:
Defenders: Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Younes Kaboul (Tottenham Hotspur), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Philippe Mexes (AC Milan), Adil Rami (Valencia)
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Samir Nasri (Manchester City)
Forwards: Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
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