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Display of unity takes France to Brazil

Published: Wednesday 20 November 2013, 10.30CET
"When all of France pulls in the same direction, results come," said Mamadou Sakho, after what Yohan Cabaye called "the best match of my career" – a 3-0 play-off win against Ukraine.
by Christian Châtelet & Ihor Lynnik
Display of unity takes France to Brazil
France huddle after their decisive 3-0 victory over Ukraine ©AFP/Getty Images

Published: Wednesday 20 November 2013, 10.30CET

Display of unity takes France to Brazil

"When all of France pulls in the same direction, results come," said Mamadou Sakho, after what Yohan Cabaye called "the best match of my career" – a 3-0 play-off win against Ukraine.

Hugo Lloris does not necessarily approve of France's taste for drama, but he and his team-mates were thrilled as they became the first side to overturn a 2-0 deficit in a FIFA World Cup play-off, denying Ukraine a trip to Brazil next summer.

Mamadou Sakho, France defender
We could feel the fans getting behind us. When all of France pulls in the same direction, results come. The atmosphere in the dressing room, what can you say? It's beautiful. We're all together. We had the right mindset. After the first leg, there was a big challenge for everyone. The fans didn't let us down. It's nice to see the French people behind the team.

Didier Deschamps, France coach
I have had some great times as a coach, but this is France going to the World Cup in Brazil. This is something fabulous, especially after the first leg and the result being against us. The credit goes to the players tonight – they produced something huge. We had two big games: we messed up the first, but tonight we did great. The target is reached. It is a big satisfaction for the players, staff and French football, since being there is important.

Hugo Lloris, France goalkeeper
This is a great time for all the players. After the first leg, we were all upset. We all pulled in the same direction and it was the performance we needed. But it's a shame that every time we have to put ourselves through situations like this to show our talent. Anyway, that's how it is – we will enjoy ourselves and use this game to continue to grow together.

Yohan Cabaye, France midfielder
Such a turnaround is unique. We did it. This is perhaps the best match of my career. A huge game. I think we deserve to be going to Brazil.

Mikhail Fomenko, Ukraine coach
It's a shame we missed out on a direct route to the World Cup as group winners. It was very difficult to do it in the play-offs against France. They are among Europe's top teams and had the home crowd behind them. They disappointed their fans in the first game and were eager to make amends, and they did so eventually.

There were no surprises for us in the two games. Unfortunately, we lost two defenders in Kyiv and we should have prepared better psychologically for the away tie. Everybody could see we had some difficult moments. The main thing was that our game wasn't complete. We lacked continuity and our performance was fragmented.

We asked the players to avoid yellow cards for dissent and minor fouls. We thought we could rely on them as we had done previously, but it ended with us playing the whole of the second half a man down. It was one-way traffic.

Last updated: 08/05/14 1.42CET

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