Deschamps still hopeful France can qualify for World Cup

Fri Nov 15, 2013 6:41pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Igor Nitsak

KIEV (Reuters) - No team has ever overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit in a European World Cup playoff yet France coach Didier Deschamps believes his team can turn the tide despite a lousy start in their tie against Ukraine.

"It was just the first step. There is a second step," Deschamps told a news conference after Les Bleus slumped to a 2-0 away defeat on Friday.

France had the upper hand at Euro 2012 when they beat hosts Ukraine 2-0 in the group phase, but over a year later the wheel seems to have turned in spectacular fashion.

Ukraine were the most physical side and Deschamps felt it went over the top on occasions.

"We struggled because they put a lot of commitment into the game," he said.

"They committed a lot of fouls, they were very aggressive."

Ukraine coach Mykhailo Fomenko said before the game he had a "recipe" for victory and one of the ingredients was clearly to man-mark Franck Ribery, who was a shadow of his usually brilliant self.

"Obviously he was under great scrutiny," a stunned-looking Deschamps said.   Continued...

France's coach Didier Deschamps gestures during the 2014 World Cup qualifying first leg playoff soccer match against Ukraine at the Olympic stadium in Kiev November 15, 2013. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich