Barca’s Dembele back in France squad for World Cup qualifiers

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tanguy Ndombele were recalled to the France squad on Thursday as the World Cup holders begin their campaign to qualify for next year’s tournament in Qatar with a triple-header of matches this month.

Dembele, 23, was part of the France squad that won the World Cup in Russia in 2018 but has not played for Les Bleus since December of that year. He is rewarded for his recent form with Barcelona and a rare, lengthy run free from injury.

Ndombele won the last of his six caps in June 2019, shortly before joining Tottenham from Lyon.

The duo feature in an expanded squad of 26 named by coach Didier Deschamps, with Paul Pogba also included as the Manchester United midfielder returns following more than a month out injured.

France begin their qualifying campaign at home to Ukraine next Wednesday, 24 March, behind closed doors at the Stade de France.