France vs Belarus - France boss Deschamps wants 'sacred prize' without the need for a play-off

Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2017 by PA

Didier Deschamps will focus only on the "sacred" prize of World Cup qualification when France take on Belarus on Tuesday.

Saturday's 1-0 win in Bulgaria means France go into their final qualifier a point ahead of second-placed Sweden in the battle for the automatic ticket to Russia, needing to at least match the latter's result. Sweden face a Holland side who need an unlikely seven-goal win to snatch second place.

Deschamps would love to see his side take control of the game against the Group A strugglers but will settle for any result which negates the need for a play-off.

"There is nothing better than playing in a World Cup, it's a global event when you are a professional player," he said at a press conference broadcast on

"Playing in a World Cup is sacred. We will do all we can tomorrow to get there.

"We are there for that reason, we are preparing for that. Tomorrow's match gives us the chance to validate our ticket for the World Cup.

"I would prefer to be in front of you with a match of no importance to play but it is good that we are here and it is decisive."

Despite the attacking riches in Deschamps' squad, Blaise Matuidi's early goal was all they had to show for their weekend trip to Sofia.

Deschamps said: "The best way to win games is to control them but it is a question of efficiency.

"I always set out with the same aims, to be as fluid as possible and have control of the ball, but we have to take into account what the opposition brings to the game and what we do less well.

"(Belarus) are a well-organised team defensively, with athleticism and some good players. They will defend and we must attack."

Midfielder N'Golo Kante was substituted in the first half against Bulgaria due to injury and will not feature on Tuesday, but full-back Djibril Sidibe is expected to be fit.

Speaking ahead of his side's final training session, Deschamps admitted he did not yet know the final make-up of his starting XI but said: "Without going into too much detail, I will freshen things up a bit."

Belarus will be without their regular right flank, with full-back Aleksei Rios and winger Sergei Balanovich suspended after bookings in Saturday's 3-1 loss to Holland.



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