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Deschamps stresses playoff importance

Former world champions France will play Ukraine for a place in the World Cup finals in Brazil next year following the draw for the European playoffs

Didier Deschamps has told his France team "it's very important" for them to defeat Ukraine and clinch their place in the World Cup finals.

Les Bleus face the first leg of their playoff in Kiev on Friday with the return meeting in Paris a week on Tuesday.

Deschamps was part of the France squad that was dramatically beaten by Bulgaria to miss out on the 1994 World Cup, and does not want the current generation to suffer the same pain.

"It's very important to be there, especially as it's in Brazil. We're face-to-face with our objective," said the former France international, who guided his team to second place in their qualifying group behind reigning world and European champions Spain.

"The logic of our group was respected, we're in the playoffs. I never envisage defeat. It's very important for the youngsters, for those for whom it will perhaps be their last and then to also prepare for Euro 2016 in France. It's not merely anecdotal to participate in a World Cup."

That may also be true of Deschamps, who has frequently tied his own destiny to that of qualification for Brazil. The 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winner enjoys a much warmer relationship with French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet than his predecessor and former international teammate Laurent Blanc.

Though Le Graet has said he would like Deschamps to remain in the role regardless of the outcome of the playoff, the former France captain is not thinking any further than his team's next two games.

He said: "I'm not interested in myself. I'm here to obtain an objective. The logical thing would be for me to do that. That's all I'm thinking about. The rest, I'm not really thinking about. Coach or national team boss, each day that goes by, I get closer to the end. I took someone's place and someone else will take mine. But I will have a life. I have the liberty and the privilege to choose my life."

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