Giroud relieved to have avoided Portugal in World Cup qualifying playoffs

The Arsenal striker says he is looking forward to taking on Ukraine and is confident Les Bleus can prevail in the two-legged tie and book a spot in Brazil.
Olivier Giroud admitted he was relieved after France avoided a date with Portugal in the qualifying playoff draw for next summer’s World Cup.

Les Bleus will instead face Ukraine with Portugal taking on Sweden in arguably the stand-out tie. The other two fixtures see Croatia facing Iceland while Greece takes on Romania. Giroud says he is pleased he will not have to come up against Cristiano Ronaldo’s men and is confident his side can defeat Ukraine and book its place in Brazil.

“We'll go there to win. Nothing is done, but I'm relieved not to be drawn against Portugal - with this team you never know," Giroud told BFM TV. "Ukraine is a team that we know well because we have already met them several times.

“It will be a double confrontation with a lot of pressure, but we are able to get through, and we should because we want to go to Brazil.”

“I am also pleased that we get the second leg [in France], but it will require a solid game out there [in Ukraine] and we must not concede goals.”

The two sides met at Euro 2012, with France winning 2-0, and Giroud says Ukraine will prove a real threat to Didier Deschamps’ men.

“We have had good results against them, including at the Euros,” Giroud said. “But we have to be careful because they have talented young players, we will be wary and approach the game with a lot of concentration but also a lot of confidence.”