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Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda withdraws from France's World Cup squad with neck injury

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MARSEILLE, France - Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda has pulled out of the France squad for the World Cup in Brazil because of a neck injury.

"It's with sadness that I announce that unfortunately I will not be able to hold my spot in the World Cup squad," Mandanda said Sunday on his Twitter account.

Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier replaced Mandanda in the France squad. He was included by France coach Didier Deschamps in the list of seven players on standby in case of injuries.

Ruffier has earned only one cap for France compared to 16 for the more experienced Mandanda.

Mandanda lost consciousness in Saturday's 1-0 win over Guingamp after his head collided with the knee of striker Mustapha Yatabare in the 19th minute. He was carried off the pitch on a stretcher and taken to the hospital.

French club Marseille said Mandanda suffered a neck sprain and a crack in the first cervical vertebra, adding that he would need to wear a neck brace for three weeks and undergo rehabilitation for a similar period of time.

France will open its World Cup campaign against Honduras on June 15 before facing Switzerland and Ecuador in Group E. Les Bleus will warm up for the tournament in Brazil by playing against Norway, Paraguay and Jamaica in friendlies.

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