Ukraine must be backed to finish French World Cup job in Paris

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Turkey may have almost done it, but the fact that no team has ever recovered from a two-goal deficit in the World Cup play-offs from the European qualification process is enough of a reason to oppose France’s chances of reaching Brazil.

France are still 15/8 to qualify for the World Cup, despite losing 2-0 in the Ukraine, where Didier Deschamps’ men lacked any sort of teamwork, creativity in the final third and a defender that carried out duties that would be expected of them.

Widespread changes look the only way for Les Bleus to turn this around, with Raphael Varane a logical inclusion at centre-half, Loic Remy perhaps a bigger threat with his movement in the lone striker role and Mathieu Valbuena having the ability to pull strings from midfield.

If nothing else, including more playmakers may bring a change of approach from Ukraine, who were comfortable doubling up on Franck Ribery in the home leg, knowing creativity was almost non-existent from elsewhere.

Turkey also lost a first play-off leg 2-0 during qualifying for the 2006, but a 4-2 second-leg triumph over Switzerland still caused them to go out on away goals.

Given the lack of comebacks, Ukraine look almost banker material at 2/5 to qualify for the World Cup and they have actually won their last five on the road, including all four in 2013.

Furthermore, Ukraine are unbeaten in 12 games in total.

With France having to go for it, it certainly looks worth taking the 15/2 that Ukraine follow up their home win with another success in France, as they will be able to sit back and play on the counter attack.

Meanwhile, the French have only won half of their last six at home, with Japan one of the teams to have left with a victory.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.