September 30, 2016

PARIS (AP) Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu has been removed from the France squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers for an unspecified reason.

The French football federation gave no explanation for coach Didier Deschamps's decision to replace Mathieu with Eliaquim Mangala, only saying he made the move ''following a discussion'' with the Barcelona player. Mangala is currently on a season-long loan at Valencia from Manchester City.

France takes on Bulgaria on Oct. 7 at the Stade de France before traveling to Amsterdam to play the Netherlands three days later in Group A.

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