France midfielder Cabaye respectful of free-scoring Ukraine

The Newcastle United man admits he was worried by the prospect of facing Cristiano Ronaldo but is now just as anxious of the side just one place above them in the Fifa rankings

France midfielder Yohan Cabaye admits to being nervous after his side was drawn against Ukraine in the play-offs for next year’s World Cup, though he is happy to have avoided Portugal.

17/10 Newcastle are 17/10 with BetVictor to beat Sunderland in the Tyne-Weir derby on Sunday
France were unseeded for Monday’s draw following their second placed finish behind holders Spain in Group I.

And, though the Newcastle United playmaker was worried by the prospect of facing Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, he admits Ukraine pose an equally tricky tie.

"Have we hit the jackpot? I do not know. We'll see on November 19," he told RMC. "The draw could have been worse but we will have to respect Ukraine.

"We have two games to play but it is not because we play Ukraine and not Portugal, or that we are at home in the second leg, that we are already qualified.

"It will not be simple. We will face a team that will also want to go to Brazil. They score a lot of goals, they have lost few games and won almost all their recent matches. It could have been more difficult, certainly, but it will still be difficult."

Ukraine, who are 20th - a position above France - in the current Fifa rankings, finished a point behind England in Group H having twice drawn with Roy Hodgson’s side.

Cabaye, meanwhile, has become a regular fixture in the French national side, scoring twice in his 25 appearances for the country.