Liverpool star replaces Koscielny and plays the hero as France qualify for World Cup

Mamadou Sakho scored one and applied the pressure for the third as Karim Benzema scored in between - to send France to the World Cup at the expense of Ukraine.

France have done it - they have qualified for the World Cup after an extraordinary night at the Stade De France.

French coach Dider Deschamps made full scale changes to the Les Bleus line-up. Laurent Koscielny was suspended and replaced by Raphael Varane - meanwhile Olivier Giroud was dropped for the in-form Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

Meanwhile Eric Abidal was also dropped with Liverpool star Mamadou Sakho coming in - and what a performance.

It certainly was not a great game for the Arsenal contingent. Olivier Giroud’s replacement Karim Benzema bagged the second goal, with a hint of offside, while either side of it was the turn of the possible Koscielny replacement Mamadou Sakho.

The £15 million Liverpool defender bagged the first goal of the game and would have applied the finish on the third before the pressured Ukrainian defender turned the ball into his own net - to take the French to the World Cup next summer.

It is a real turnaround - and it is also a ringing endorsement for the way in which the French public got behind their team after the first leg, rather than berate them for a dismal display in Kiev the Friday previous.

And now Liverpool defender Sakho can return to Anfield with a place at the World Cup next year assured - and with a reputation as a French hero in the bag.

Here are the goals from the game…

image: © Julien Haler

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