Deschamps haunted by World Cup failure

Les Bleus' head coach says his side has to remain focused in its playoff clash and has singled out its opponents' wide players as dangerous threats.
France head coach Didier Deschamps says he is still haunted by the memory of his failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

The former midfielder won the trophy with France in 1998, but four years previously he was part of a squad that failed to make the tournament in the USA after it was beaten by Bulgaria in a playoff.

Les Bleus face Ukraine in a two-legged playoff, with the first leg taking place on Friday in Kiev, and Deschamps is desperate to avoid a chilling case of deja-vu.

"It may have been 20 years ago, but it still sticks in my mind. I don't want to experience that again," he told "We're playing two games in five days with no points at stake. Our goal is crystal clear – to qualify for the World Cup. These matches are special because it's not often you play an opponent twice in such quick succession. My staff and I will have to adapt in order to prepare for the games in the best possible way."

While his side may be favored, Deschamps isn't taking his opposition lightly targeting a pair of players who could cause his side problems. 

"They are a very well-organized side, physical and aggressive. I attended and watched a lot of their matches during the past 12 months," the manager said. "The two most important players in the system are the wingers, Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko, who play on the opposing flanks to their natural foot."

France finished second in World Cup qualification Group B, with Spain taking top spot, resulting in the playoff path les Bleus must now walk.