herald

Saturday 21 April 2018

Les Bleus will 'die' for cause - Giroud

FRANCE'S under-pressure players are ready to "die" for the cause as they try to qualify for the World Cup finals by overturning a two-goal deficit against Ukraine tomorrow, according to striker Olivier Giroud.

Les Blues are on the verge of missing a major tournament for the first time in 20 years following Friday's 2-0 playoff, first-leg defeat in Kiev.

No team have recovered from a two-goal deficit in a European playoff but Giroud says France can use the disappointment of a few days ago as extra motivation.

"We are ready to die on the pitch," striker Giroud told a news conference yesterday, ahead of the Stade de France clash.

"I have a lot of determination and I think it will help us get into them," he added. Ukraine proved rock-solid on Friday as France, who have appeared at all major finals since missing out on Euro 1996, were well below par.

"One side played a top-level match and we played just a match, like it was an ordinary game. We took a slap in the face," coach Didier Deschamps said, adding that his side were capable of doing much better.

"This is what the top level is. The players have it inside of them and they will have to show that tomorrow."

Deschamps knows his players will have to do more than simply control possession tomorrow, calling for more passion.

"We have to be ready for a fight, to produce a non-ordinary match. We have to play the 'total match', to give everything in every department," he said.

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