PARIS: Karim Benzema has again been overlooked by manager Didier Deschamps for France’s opening two World Cup qualifiers of the new season against Holland and Luxembourg writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The Real Madrid centre-forward was dropped initially after being placed under criminal investigation over allegations connected with a sex-tape scandal involving France midfielder Mathieu Valbuena.

Benzema thus missed last year’s European Championship in which hosts France lost 1-0 to Portugal after extra-time in the final in the Stade de France.

Last month the French appeal court quashed a lower court’s ruling that the investigation should continue. A Paris court is expected to review whether a new inquiry should be opened. This process could take up to six months.

Deschamps, however, has refused to change his initial stance concerning a player described, earlier this week, by ex-France striker Sidney Govou as “the most outstanding French forward of the last 10 years.”

Squad: Alphonse Areola (PSG), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille); Lucas Digne, Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Christophe Jallet (Nice), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Layvin Kurzawa (PSG), Djibril Sidibé (Monaco), Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid); Ngolo Kanté (Chelsea), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (PSG), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich); Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Olivier Giroud, Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico de Madrid), Kylian Mbappé (Monaco), Florian Thauvin (Marseille).