France's soccer team players Franck Ribery (L) and Karim Benzema attend a training session at Clairefontaine, near Paris, October 9, 2013. France team gathers at their training camp in preparation for their friendly match against Australia on October 11, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Charles Platiau (FRANCE - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
France will take on Ukraine in a rough World Cup playoff next month.
While this matchup is difficult, Coach Didier Deschamps noted that he was happy to avoid facing Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo in the two-legged playoff.
"Honestly, I would have preferred to avoid Portugal," he said, according to BFM TV. "It's already done so all the better. We know Ukraine. We played them several times and our last result against them was a good one at Euro 2012."
For France, this match is a likely win, but it will not be an easy matchup. The Ukrainians nearly finished on top of Group H and finished only one point behind England for the top spot in their group. Throughout the tournament, the Ukrainians proved their terrific attacking presence, lighting up San Marino 9-0 and 8-0 in two group games.
While the first game will be away, Deschamps noted that he preferred the current format. It puts more pressure on the opponents in the opener, he said.
"But it's a good thing to be at home in the second leg," said Deschamps. "We have to have confidence in ourselves but we should also have respect for our opponents, who will giving their all to take their chance. We have to remain cautious because they're a budding team with good players. But it's doable."
France should not have many problems winning this match as they have the reigning European player of the year in Franck Ribery. However, they will have to calm the likely wave of attacks Ukraine will launch at home in the opener.