CLAIREFONTAINE, France (AP) — France coach Didier Deschamps knows the team's likeliest route to the World Cup goes via the playoff, and that means a win in Friday's friendly against Australia can help its chances of getting to Brazil.
With Spain in a commanding position, France has almost no chance of topping Group I, meaning the playoff for second-place teams is beckoning next month.
France's FIFA ranking has slipped to a lowly 25th, so it needs to win Friday's friendly against Australia and its last qualifier against Finland four days later to have a stronger chance of being among the seeded teams when the draw is made.
Deschamps says "I don't want people easing up and lacking concentration" against Australia.
Spain is level on points with France but has home games against Belarus and Georgia.
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