Laurent Koscielny says he was handed a World Cup “miracle” after escaping a lengthy suspension for the tournament.
The Arsenal centre back was sent off in injury time during the first leg of France’s play-off clash against Ukraine in November.
A long ban could have seen him left out of Les Bleus' squad for Brazil, but Koscielny will be available for all their games after missing just the second leg.
When the coach called me and said it was just one game, I was very happy. It was a miracleLaurent Koscielny
“It was a surprise for me because after my red card I thought it [would be] a big suspension,” Koscielny told Arsenal Player.
“When the coach called me and said it was just one game, I was very happy. It was a miracle. I will try to give my best on the pitch and leave this story behind me.
“For the players, the World Cup is very exciting because it's a big competition with your country. It's in Brazil and for the people there it's where football was born because they’ve had a lot of big teams who have won the World Cup. To play there is very exciting for each player.”
France have been drawn against Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras in Group E, and Koscielny is confident they can progress.
“We are not favourites [to win the World Cup] but we’re in a group where we can finish first,” he said. “But we need to play the games to win and that’s the most difficult thing.
“We will go there with ambition. We have a young group and all the players can get more experience. It's very important for the experienced players to help the young ones because it's a big competition.
“We played well before so we just need to be together as a unit and see what we can do in the competition.”Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source