PARIS (AP)Brothers Khéphren and Marcus Thuram were called up by France coach Didier Deschamps on Thursday for upcoming European Championship qualifiers against the Netherlands and Ireland.

They are the sons of former France defender Lilian Thuram, who played alongside Deschamps when France won the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.

It is the second time Deschamps has selected brothers in his squad, with Lucas and Théo Hernandez playing for France at the World Cup in Qatar last year, along with forward Marcus Thuram.

Marcus Thuram is the elder brother of the 21-year-old midfielder Khéphren, who was called up for the first time after impressing with French club Nice this season.

France hosts the Netherlands at Stade de France on March 24 and plays Ireland in Dublin three days later.

France lost the 2022 World Cup final on penalty kicks following a 3-3 draw with Argentina, which beat the Netherlands on penalties in a tense quarterfinal match.

Veteran goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and central defender Raphaël Varane, who both won the World Cup in 2018, retired from the national team after the loss to Argentina.

Deschamps is rebuilding his squad somewhat, and called up Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba and Chelsea center back Wesley Fofana for the first time.

With Lloris now retired, Deschamps must choose a new captain with Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappé among the leading contenders. Mbappé became only the second player to score a hat trick in a World Cup final when France lost to Argentina.

Deschamps refused to answer any questions about Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, who as expected was not in the squad following a rift between them.

Benzema left the World Cup in Qatar with a leg injury. He has since disputed the version of events given by Deschamps in a newspaper interview with cryptic messages and emojis online.

“I don’t look at social networks,” Deschamps said, adding that he would not comment further on Benzema.

France Squad:

Goalkeepers: Mike Maignan (AC Milan), Alphonse Areola (West Ham), Brice Samba (Lens)

Defenders: Théo Hernandez (AC Milan), Jules Koundé (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Wesley Fofana (Chelsea), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich), Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), William Saliba (Arsenal), Ibrahima Konaté (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurélien Tchouaméni (Real Madrid), Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Khéphren Thuram (Nice), Jordan Veretout (Marseille)

Forwards: Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain), Olivier Giroud (AC Milan), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen), Randal Kolo Muani (Eintracht Frankfurt), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

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