France take on Ukraine in a make or break clash in Paris on Tuesday, knowing they must end the Eastern European nation's 12-match unbeaten streak and overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit, if they are to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Didier Deschamps' side conceded twice in the second half in Kiev on Friday and had Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny sent off. Les Bleus must now bounce back and pull off a remarkable turnaround at the Stade de France.
The players will have an extra incentive to fight it out for qualification this time, as it would probably be the last chance for the likes of Franck Ribery, Patrice Evra, Eric Abidal and Bacary Sagna to participate in a World Cup.
"For most of us, it is the most important game in our careers. We all want to show something different to what we did on Friday. We have to be stronger in the battles and improve our technical quality," stressed Paris St Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi.
"We have to play with heart, with guts, but with the head as well. We have to score but we cannot afford to let in a goal. We know we have the talent to do it but we have to show pride and passion," the 26-year-old added.
Interestingly, while France need to score at least twice on Friday to keep the tie alive, Ukraine are on a run of eight successive clean sheets - a national record. Mikhail Fomenko's men have not conceded since the 2-1 win over Moldova back in March and have shut out the likes of England, Poland and Montenegro.
"When the goalkeeper is not beaten, the team has a better chance of winning. The guys have been great. This sequence was possible due to their efforts. [But] for me the main thing is the result of the team. It is more important to go to Brazil than to set records," stressed goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.
"We watched the first match with France, analysed our performance and the coach showed us a large number of mistakes. Nothing is ever perfect, we learn from our mistakes. It will be a difficult match but that's football. There is tension, emotion, but we are very focused on the game and believe in ourselves," the Shakhtar Donetsk star added.
France: Koscielny remains suspended, while fellow centre-back and Real Madrid star Raphael Varane (knee) is a doubt.
Ukraine: Fomenko will be without central defender Oleksandr Kucher, who is suspended. Second-choice goalkeeper Maxym Koval (fever) is also unavailable.
France: Ribery has once again enjoyed a stellar start to the season with Bayern Munich, with eight goals and six assists from 16 appearances so far. The 30-year-old has also been his country's go-to man in these qualifiers, notching up five goals and four assists from 10 matches and will once again shoulder the responsibility, as Les Bleus look to stage a turnaround.
Ukraine: Andriy Yarmolenko scored from the spot in the first leg in Kiev, to take his qualifiers tally to five goals and four assists from 11 appearances. The 24-year-old winger will once again be the driving force of Ukraine.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 1.30am IST on Wednesday morning, with Sony Six HD providing live coverage in India. There is no official live streaming option available in India. To watch the match through live streaming online via Al Jazeera Sport in the Middle East and North Africa, click HERE. To catch the action live online in the US courtesy ESPN, click HERE.
France: Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra; Matuidi, Pogba; Valbuena, Cabaye, Ribery; Benzema
Ukraine: Pyatov; Fedetskiy, Khacheridi, Rakytskiy, Shevchuk; Stepanenko, Rotan; Yarmolenko, Edmur, Konoplyanka; Zozulya
Prediction: 2-1 to France