Ribery: I wasn't the saviour

Franck Ribery insisted he was no "saviour" despite scoring a brace to help France to a crucial World Cup qualifying win over Belarus.

Last Updated: 11/09/13 at 13:38 Post Comment

Franck Ribery: On target for France

Franck Ribery: On target for France

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France had not scored in five games prior to Tuesday night but ended that unwanted sequence with an emphatic second-half display that secured their place in the play-offs.

Ribery, passed fit after a buttock injury, equalised twice after first Egor Filipenko and then Timofey Kalachev had given Belarus the lead.

Goals in the final 20 minutes from Samir Nasri and Paul Pogba then sealed a hard-fought 4-2 victory for Didier Deschamps' side.

Much of the post-match plaudits went to Ribery, however, but the Bayern Munich forward said: "I'm not the saviour. I scored at the right time, when France needed me to score. We're happy to have put in a great second half.

"We'd not scored for a while and we were strong mentally. After going 2-1 behind we were fortunate enough to equalise quickly."

Ribery's injury concerns made him a major doubt pre-match, but he said he was never overly concerned that he would miss out.

"Some other players might not have given it a go with the injury I was carrying but I like to contribute what I can," he said.

"The physio did a great job and I knew from the eve of the game that it would be okay."

The win maintained France's slim hopes of beating Spain to automatic qualification from Group I, but more importantly they are now sure of a play-off berth after staying five points clear of Finland with just one game now remaining.

"It was tough and we didn't have many chances in the first half. We scored early in the second and were in the midst of a good spell when we conceded a second goal that hurt us," said Deschamps.

"We were 2-1 down in the 57th minute and a long way away from our objective. If I retain the positives then we scored four goals and that's something France has not done since 2009.

"The importance of getting a result had made us tense but we were much better in the second half in all departments of the game, but it's not because we won 4-2 that I'm going to shout from the rooftops.

"We've got a great player in Franck Ribery and he confirmed that here."

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