Competition for places in his Euro 2008 squad starts in Kiev

Despite France is already qualified for next year's European Championship, it has a strong motivation to defeat Ukraine on Wednesday.

Coach Raymond Domenech says competition for places in his Euro 2008 squad starts in Kiev.

"The list, competition (for places) are an extra motivation in themselves," Domenech said Tuesday. "In a certain way, the race to be part of the list of 23 starts tomorrow in Ukraine."

France reached next year's tournament in the final seconds of Scotland's home match with Italy, when Christian Panucci scored to knock out Scotland and send both the Azzuri and Les Bleus through to the finals.

Before Saturday's match in Glasgow, France coach Raymond Domenech had repeatedly urged his players to think only about winning in Kiev, rather than hope for a favor from Italy - and his stance has not changed.

"We want to show that our qualification has nothing to do with chance," Domenech said at Clairefontaine. "If we're qualified it's because we have gained points during the qualifiers."

Domenech is the only French coach to be successful in two consecutive qualification campaigns for major tournaments, after also leading the team to the World Cup final last year.

Aime Jacquet qualified for Euro 96 but Les Bleus automatically reached the 1998 World Cup as host.

France has an outside chance of topping Group B, if Italy stumbles against Faeroe Islands on Wednesday. Italy has 26 points and France has 25 after 11 games.

Scotland, which twice beat France 1-0, ended with 24 points and paid the price for losing 2-0 in Georgia last month.

Ukraine is also out, but Domenech expects them to go down fighting.

"Ukraine will want to show that it went through a bad patch and deserved to qualify," Domenech said.

Bolton striker Nicolas Anelka is looking forward to going up against Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko.

"I have never had the chance to play with him or against him," Anelka said. "He's a great player."

Shevchenko has struggled to make an impact at Chelsea since joining for 31 million pounds (then US$59 million; EUR45.6 million) last season. He scored 173 goals in seven seasons for Milan, but has managed only five league goals for Chelsea in 36 appearances, and 17 in 60 overall.

However, his international record - 35 goals in 77 appearances - means France will watch him closely.

Domenech is without Florent Malouda because of a knee injury. Mathieu Flamini, who made his debut as a late substitute against Morocco, could start against Ukraine and Thierry Henry, rested against Morocco, is likely to play in attack.

Domenech will either pair Henry with Anelka or Karim Benzema, or keep Samir Nasri in a playmaker role just behind Henry. Nasri scored one goal and created the other for Sidney Govou on Friday.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova