Desailly ruled out for France
By Steve Luckings
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Les Bleus coach Jaques Santini confirmed the news on Thursday at Clairefontaine as France go into the match against Israel having already qualified for next summer's finals in Portugal.
Santini told a news conference: "Marcel is out of the game for this weekend. Zinedine will captain our team against Israel."
Desailly may have made matters worse by playing in a charity match organised by Zidane with the rest of the 1998 World Cup-winning team in Marseille on Monday to help Algerian earthquake victims.
Santini also confirmed that a decision on Desailly's Chelsea team mate William Gallas, who has a shin injury, would be made on Saturday.
"He (Gallas) was jogging yesterday and we will make a decision on Saturday morning," added Santini.
The absence of Desailly and possibly of Gallas further depletes an already weakened defence.
Mikael Silvestre and Willy Sagnol were not picked by Santini as they are still recuperating from injuries, while defensive midfielder Claude Makelele is suspended.
Roma's Olivier Dacourt and Benoit Pedretti of Sochaux look set to be paired in midfield at the Stade de France.