The Ballon d’Or candidate has been in lethal form for Bayern Munich this year and his France coach wants that to be carried on to the World Cup play-offs
Didier Deschamps says he hopes Franck Ribery is decisive for France, but does not mind who is as long as they beat Ukraine to reach the World Cup in Brazil next year.
Les Bleus face Mykhaylo Fomenko’s men in a play-off on Friday in Kiev before the second leg in Paris on Tuesday, with Ribery in stunning form for club side Bayern Munich, which has already earned him Uefa’s Best Player award and a nomination for the Ballon d’Or.
Deschamps is hoping for that form to be transferred to the national team, but insists it is not important who produces the goods for France as long as they seal a place at Brazil 2014.
“I hope Ribery is decisive, but if it’s him or someone else, it doesn’t matter,” he told reporters.
“Current form is not necessarily what I will select players on, but it’s a criteria. I’m not concerned about the form of [Mathieu] Valbuena, [Olivier] Giroud or [Eric] Abidal as they are dependent on their teams. It’s been a period a little more difficult for Abidal and Monaco, but I have no specific worries.”
Ukraine finished second in Group H behind England and ahead of Montenegro. Fomenko’s men proved difficult to penetrate, conceding only four goals from 10 games; the joint-best defensive record alongside England.
Deschamps believes his side will have their work cut out and will have to keep a close eye on the attacking prowess of Evgen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko.
“Ukraine concede few goals. Konoplyanka and Yarmolenko are their two main threats down the wings,” he said.
“I have no doubt there is support for the team. There will be fans in Ukraine and the Stade de France is already full.
“We cannot be considered in ‘big danger’ before the draw and considered to ‘have qualified’ the morning after.
“Ukraine will not be tourists.”