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WC Qualification Europe

  • November 19, 2013
  • • 3:00 PM
  • • Stade de France, Paris
  • Referee: D. Skomina
  • • Attendance: 77098
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France win Aggregate 3 - 2

World Cup Playoff Preview: France - Ukraine

World Cup Playoff Preview: France - Ukraine

Panoramic

Didier Deschamps' men have work to do if they are to make it to Brazil after losing 2-0 in Kiev on Friday, but their cause has been aided by the return of Raphael Varane.

France needs to produce a much-improved display in the second leg of its playoff with Ukraine if it is to reach the World Cup.

Didier Deschamps' men stand on the precipice of elimination following their 2-0 defeat in the first leg in Kiev on Friday. France has been present at each of the last four World Cups since its failure to reach the 1994 tournament in the United States, and won the 1998 competition on home soil.

However, France now faces the prospect of missing out on next year's finals in Brazil, and will have to attempt an unlikely comeback at the Stade de France on Tuesday without defender Laurent Koscielny, who was sent off in the first-leg loss. Real Madrid center back Raphael Varane could take Koscielny's place after Deschamps revealed that the 20-year-old has made a speedy recovery from a knee injury.

Deschamps is hopeful his side can break down the visitors' stout defense in Paris while also warning his players of their threat on the counter.

"What awaits us on Tuesday is the possibility to turn the tide," he told TF1. "We must apply pressure, but also be aware that they will not keep 10 players behind the ball. They will not come to defend. It will require total football and that we maintain a high tempo from beginning to end."

Ukraine has made just one appearance at the World Cup finals in its history, which came in 2006 when it reached the quarterfinals.

Mikhail Fomenko's side will be without defender Oleksandr Kucher for the game following his dismissal in injury time Friday, but Ukraine should be confident of finishing the job following a qualification campaign that has seen it lose just one game.

Andriy Yarmolenko scored Ukraine's second goal from the penalty spot in the first leg, but the Dynamo Kiev winger has urged caution ahead of the trip to Paris, despite the commanding advantage.

"This result should be treated calmly," he said. "We have only played the first match - there is still a game to be played in France. That will be tougher. We must play with confidence."

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