Football

Phenomenal France break record on the way to World Cup

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Before this match against Ukraine on Tuesday, the French sporting press were both critical and dismissive of the French national team, stating with little doubt that there was virtually no chance of their side progressing to the World Cup.

However, that doom and gloom has now been replaced with euphoria after Ukraine were made to look amateur while France broke the record of no team ever having overcome a two-goal defeat in the playoff round of qualifying.

Indeed, France were at times mesmerising, nothing like the side who failed to put themselves on the score sheet last week, or the side who have been struggling to convert the chances they created in the big games.

That surprising new clinical ability came from none other than the defender Mamadou Sakho, who moved to Liverpool from Paris-Saint-Germain in the summer, and Karim Benzema who, despite his undeniable quality for Real Madrid, has not been on top form for France.

Both of these players were on the bench in the first leg of the tie and symbolized perfectly the turnaround that took place by getting a messy but well-earned goal and forcing the Ukrainian defence into an own goal, something they will be looking to build on as they prepare for the prestigious tournament.

But the change was no less obvious on the rest of the pitch, as the visitors were restricted to only two clear chances, which would have more or less secured their progression, both of which were snuffed out by the perfectly coordinated French defence. That was despite the absence of Laurent Koscielny, usually so pivotal to the team but unavailable due to his sending off in the previous meeting between the two teams.

All of which means that France are now the only team ever to turn around a 2-0 defeat to reach the World Cup, an accomplishment not to be discredited, especially considering they did it against a Ukraine side who had not lost in their previous twelve matches and had not conceded in the previous eight.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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