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France reactions - Payet: 'Rather play badly and win!' Les Bleus | 11/10/2017

France and Olympique de Marseille attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet thinks France can do even better in Russia next year after sealing automatic qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Full reactions…

FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying Group A

Stade de France, Saint-Denis

France 2-1 Belarus

Didier Deschamps (France coach):
"A lot of hard work was put in. I'm very happy for the players. We achieved our goal. It wasn't easy but we finished first with a four-point cushion [on second-place Sweden]. I think the fans at the Stade de France enjoyed it. This is what football's all about. I'm not blind, though. There was a bit of fatigue from my team tonight. The team is young. I'm well aware that we need to better control certain situations. When you start a competition you obviously have the ambition to go as far as possible. That was the case four years ago in Brazil. I wouldn't look smart saying we were favourites [for the World Cup]. We finished qualifying having conceded six goals in ten matches. But we created chances too. I like what we do going forward."

Dimitri Payet (France midfielder): "We're not the only ones who had trouble, but we still finished four points in front. It's a good qualification campaign. We only lost one game. We'll have to improve for the big competition. We knew that by winning tonight we'd qualify. We had to score quickly and we held on well in the second half. We know that we can do better, and it is encouraging to want to do better. It wasn't the best game but I'd rather play badly and win."

Antoine Griezmann (France forward): "We're going to Russia what was the objective from the start. We're very happy. We'll have to prepare well for this beautiful story, this World Cup. We'll have to go there and do something great. We'll have to work in attack, in defence, and do everything in our power to be ready."

Olivier Giroud (France striker): "It wasn't easy. They [Belarus] were effective and dangerous until the very end. We had to stick together. We're all relieved tonight to have finished this campaign with direct qualification. Now, we will be able to work on things to get this group gelling together."

Noël Le Graët (FFF President): "The players and staff are happy, it is job done. France has not always been able to qualify directly, so what they did was good, even if not everything was perfect. In any case we have boys who are happy to play for the blue jersey, who progressed, and who are very happy. The goal has reached, four points ahead [of Sweden]. We have a good group despite some players missing. Didier Deschamps has everything in hand, in a remarkable way."


>> MATCH REPORT: France seal World Cup berth


>> FIXTURES/RESULTS: Les Bleus