The fact that no European country has ever come back from a two-goal deficit in a UEFA World Cup playoff, underscores the momentous task facing France as it hosts Ukraine in Paris on Tuesday for the second game of a two-game playoff series where the winner will head to the World Cup. After the 2-0 loss on Friday, France coach Didier Deschamps described the game in Kiev as a ‘slap in the face’:
"One side played a top-level match and we played just a match, like it was an ordinary game. We took a slap in the face,” the former Juventus and Chelsea player told the French media. “This is what the top level is. The players have it inside of them and they will have to show that on Tuesday. We have to be ready for a fight, to produce a non-ordinary match. We have to play the 'total match', to give everything in every department.”
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, for one, says Les Bleus are ready for the task awaiting them on Tuesday. "We are ready to die on the field,” he said on Sunday. “I have a lot of determination and I think it will help us get into them."
Meanwhile, reports claim that Deschamps will alter his starting lineup, dropping Manchester City’s Samir Nasri in favor of Marseille playmaker Mathieu Valbuena. Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho is likely to replace the suspended Laurent Koscielny.