Barthez wins goalie's battle for WC | india | Hindustan Times
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Barthez wins goalie's battle for WC

Fabien will be France's first choice goalkeeper at Germany. French brigade

india Updated: May 15, 2006 01:42 IST

Fabien Barthez will be France's first choice goalkeeper at next month's World Cup finals.

The Marseille player had been in fierce contention with Lyon's Gregory Coupet for the position, but after long reflection coach Raymond Domenech opted for the 77-times capped Barthez, a veteran of the 1998 World Cup winning side.

In announcing his 23-strong squad, Domenech mainly went for experience with the only mild surprises being the inclusion of two uncapped players - Wigan defender Pascal Chimbonda and Marseille midfielder Franck Ribery.

Chimbonda was struggling in the French league at Bastia before signing for promoted Wigan in England, a move that helped revive his career as he was named the Premiership's right-back of the year.

Ribery has been outstanding at Marseille being named the French league's Young Player of the Year and has been added to an ageing midfield to provide the option of some youth and drive.

"For any professional player the chance to play in a team like France with players like Zinedine Zidane would be a dream come true. I will do all I can to get the team into the final," he said.

As expected there was no place for Barcelona winger Ludovic Giuly, Arsenal's Robert Pires or troublesome striker Nicolas Anelka, all of whom failed to convince Domenech that they could be valuable assets in Germany.