LONDON - Germany coach Joachim Loew said on Monday that he expects France to overcome the odds by prevailing in their World Cup qualifying play-off against Ukraine.
France approach Tuesday's second leg in Paris needing to overturn a 2-0 deficit from Friday's away leg to avoid failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1994.
But while Loew admits that he was shocked by France's first-leg defeat in Kiev, he backed Didier Deschamps's side to book a place in Brazil.
"I was very surprised that a star-studded team such as France with the likes of (Karim) Benzema, (Samir) Nasri and (Franck) Ribery had such difficulties against Ukraine and actually lost the game," he said, ahead of Germany's friendly against England at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.
"If Ukraine get a good result from France, then they've deserved that ticket to Brazil, but my gut feeling is that at the end of the day, France will be able to turn things around.
"There's obviously a huge level of expectation in France and I can imagine that the French players, the coach and public are going through incredibly tense days, because not qualifying for the tournament would be akin to a national catastrophe.
"But I think France will go out very aggressively and do their level best to make it to Brazil."