Saliba gets 1st call to France squad to replace Pavard

March 21, 2022 GMT
Marseille's William Saliba, front, and Nice's Khephren Thuram battle for the ball during a French League One soccer match between Olympique de Marseille and OGC Nice at Orange Velodrome in Marseille, France, Sunday, March 20, 2022.(AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
Marseille's William Saliba, front, and Nice's Khephren Thuram battle for the ball during a French League One soccer match between Olympique de Marseille and OGC Nice at Orange Velodrome in Marseille, France, Sunday, March 20, 2022.(AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
Marseille's William Saliba, front, and Nice's Khephren Thuram battle for the ball during a French League One soccer match between Olympique de Marseille and OGC Nice at Orange Velodrome in Marseille, France, Sunday, March 20, 2022.(AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
Marseille's William Saliba, front, and Nice's Khephren Thuram battle for the ball during a French League One soccer match between Olympique de Marseille and OGC Nice at Orange Velodrome in Marseille, France, Sunday, March 20, 2022.(AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
Marseille's William Saliba, front, and Nice's Khephren Thuram battle for the ball during a French League One soccer match between Olympique de Marseille and OGC Nice at Orange Velodrome in Marseille, France, Sunday, March 20, 2022.(AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

PARIS (AP) — Marseille defender William Saliba has been called up to France’s national team for upcoming friendly matches as a replacement for Benjamin Pavard, the French soccer federation said Monday.

Pavard, who plays for Bayern Munich, has been ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

As part of their preparations for the World Cup in Qatar later this year, the defending champions will take on Ivory Coast in Marseille on March 25. They will then play South Africa in Lille on March 29.

The 20-year-old Saliba had never been called up to France’s national squad before.

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