France’s commanding 3-0 victory over Ukraine at the Stade de France on Tuesday confirmed their safe passage to next summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
It was in major doubt after a 2-0 first leg defeat in Kiev last Friday, but overall it was a deserved 3-2 aggregate victory after an epic fightback in Paris.
In coming back from a two-goal deficit to secure their place at the tournament, Les Tricolores preserve an almost 20-year-old qualification record in the process.
Didier Deschamps’ side also become the first ever to recover a two-goal scoreline in order to qualify for a major international tournament.
Mamdou Sakho set Les Bleus on their way with the opener before Karim Benzema gave the hosts a 2-0 half-time lead, wiping out Ukraine’s advantage.
Yevhen Khacheridi’s red card from two yellows less than two minutes into the second period put the Yellow-Blues’ hopes of qualification in jeopardy, before an Oleh Husyev own goal effectively ended them.
Deschamps was brave in making five changes to the side that was beaten in Kiev four days before, but fortune favours the brave and those changes paid off handsomely with the most comprehensive performance under his charge yet.