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Sagna pinpoints improved France desire

Karim Benzema and Hugo Lloris were caught up in the celebrations after France managed to book a place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Mamadou Sakho reacts after he scored twice in France's 3-0 win at home to Ukraine in their World Cup play-off second leg. Les Bleus win 3-2 on aggregate and qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
French Football President Noel Le Graet admitted that he expected heartache after France fought back against a 2-0 first leg deficit to win 3-2 against Ukraine.

Bacary Sagna has said a change of mentality ensured France booked their place at the 2014 World Cup.

 Holyman: True test awaits joyous French

France staged a rousing comeback to beat Ukraine 3-0 in Paris on Tuesday, having lost the first leg 2-0 in Kiev last week.

Sagna, who replaced Mathieu Debuchy for the final 12 minutes at the Stade de France, said increased desire from his France teammates was the difference in the second meeting.

Sagna told ESPN FC: "There is craziness in the dressing room right now. Everyone is jumping everywhere because we are so happy.

"We popped some bottles because it was a difficult game to play. We showed France has a good team, that we can play good football and that we have the fans’ support. We just had to win the game. We just had to start well, as we knew we could come back.

“The desire of the players changed between Kiev and now. On Friday we refused to fight. You can have as much talent as you like, but if you don’t fight then you lose the game. At the same time, we knew we had the quality to come back. One more time, we showed it tonight.

“Brazil is a long way away, but we finally made it to Brazil so everyone is happy. Now we have to keep this match and the lessons learned in mind. If we don’t fight, we don’t play good football. Tonight we showed great character and I think we want to keep this match as a reference.

“Hopefully this match is a turning point for us. We want to keep everyone smiling and the best way to do that is to keep winning.”

Karim Benzema, who controversially scored France's second goal from an offside position, added: "Yes, it was a perfect match. There was plenty of risk beforehand, plenty of pressure, but we stood firm.

“It was a physical difference between the two legs, that is all. We wanted it more after the first game.”

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba expressed his joy at the achievement: "It is a dream turned into reality for me, to help my country to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil.

There is a great atmosphere within the squad after the result. I am feeling everything at present, happiness, I can’t put it into words exactly.

“We came into the match with the intention of winning 3-0 and when I saw Mamadou [Sakho’s] second goal go in, I was delighted.

“I think as everybody saw tonight, we played very well in a midfield trio, Blaise [Matuidi], Yohan [Cabaye] and I. We won the ball back a lot and kept hold of it well. Hopefully we can continue like that.”

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