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 By Ian Holyman

Sevilla's Wissam ben Yedder targets World Cup spot with France

Sevilla striker Wissam ben Yedder has told RMC he remains optimistic about his chances of forcing his way into France's World Cup squad thanks to his Champions League form.

Ben Yedder, 27, has only found the net twice in La Liga this term, but he has been far more impressive in European competition with his double in Tuesday's 3-3 thriller with Liverpool taking his group-stage tally to six.

The former under-21 international is yet to win a senior cap and with Antoine Griezmann, Alexandre Lacazette, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud all ahead of him in the national team pecking order, his chances of making it to Russia next summer appear limited, but he is keeping the faith.

"The only thing I have in mind is that no-one can stop me setting myself objectives," he said.

"I know the players in my position have a greater history with the national team, I know I start with some ground to make up, that some have a different style to me, that we're all playing well, that the coach will have choices to make, but have you heard me say that's a problem? No, because it's the reality. As for everything else, I face up to that."

Wissam ben Yedder has been a key man for Sevilla in the Champions League.

He added: "If I listen to what is said, I'd give up, but that's not my style. I listen, I understand, but I have the right to try and respond in my way on the pitch. Do I deserve it? That's very subjective and everyone has their opinion about that.

"I think the consistency in my performances, my ability to adapt to different coaches, systems or competitions work in my favour. The final decision will come down to the coach. I just keep on pushing. Everything is possible."

Sevilla boss Eduardo Berizzo was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The La Liga club made the news public on Wednesday, leading to reports the players' fightback from 3-0 down against Liverpool had been due to them being told the news at half-time of the game.

"We knew about it in training well beforehand," Ben Yedder said. "We're all behind him. We know it's not an easy time, that it's difficult for him. As a team, we wanted to do our best for him."

Rather than reveal some bad personal news, Ben Yedder said Berizzo's inspiring half-time team talk was based on a more traditional emotion.

"The coach was very annoyed at half-time," said Ben Yedder, who scored twice inside the opening 15 minutes of the second half before Guido Pizarro's dramatic added-time leveller kept Sevilla's European ambitions intact.

"He asked us to respond, because it was important to do so at home. He asked us to continue with pride, with rage, and told us we could turn things round. He re-motivated us and we did the business. Everyone wanted to make a comeback because we couldn't accept to lose 3-0 like that at our place, at home."

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman


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