With a faltering attack that has only notched up 10 goals in their nine games so far, France needs to get their strike force purring if they are to finish above current group leaders Israel and Switzerland.
French coach Raymond Domenech was blunt in his appraisal of the situation his team finds itself after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland in Berne.
“This point means that everything will be played for in the last match,” he said. “We’ll have to wait until Wednesday and fight.
“Against Cyprus, it’s simple: we have to score. I think three goals more than the Swiss if the Swiss win in Ireland.”
Veteran midfielder Zinedine Zidane said: “We still have our destiny in our own hands. We must win against Cyprus.”
France defender Anthony Reveillere admitted that the team had had an eye on next year’s World Cup in Germany going into the Swiss match.
“We’re a little disappointed. We were thinking about qualification,” he said.
Djibril Cisse, who gave France the lead in the 52nd minute, tried to put a positive spin on the draw and what will surely be a tough week ahead.
“There’s a bit of disappointment but we also have hope and are raring to go for Wednesday,” the Liverpool striker said.
“By scoring a goal, we took a big step, but a match is 90 minutes long and we cracked.
“We still have a great chance against Cyprus, who have been eliminated.”
France midfielder Patrick Vieira has apologised for his poor performance in the draw.
The Juventus player, usually a consistent performer for his country, put in one of his worst displays in 82 internationals.
“I’m blaming myself,” he admitted.
“I was terrible during the first half and I was not exactly good in the second,” he said.
“It didn’t take me long to realise that I was having a bad day. I only needed a couple of passes and a few body checks to know how bad I felt,” he said. “Then I tried to do my best from there.”
Vieira made no excuses for his display and refused to confirm reports that he is nursing a groin injury.
“If I’m on the field it means that I’m able to play,” he said. “I know myself well enough to see what I can do.”
France, the 1998 World Cup winners who in the 2002 World Cup became the first defending champions to fail to score a goal, won 2-0 in Cyprus at the beginning of their current World Cup campaign.
Missing first choice strikers Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet, France struggled against Switzerland.
The result left France in third in Group 4 behind Israel, who lie top but have completed all their games, and Switzerland, who are ahead with a plus-three goal difference.
The French looked far from comfortable for large periods of the match which Switzerland, led admirably by top marksman Alexander Frei and captain Johann Vogel, played at a furious pace.
It took the muscular presence of Cisse to capitalise on a horrendous error in the Swiss central defence and score to break the deadlock.
But Switzerland’s Ludovic Magnin struck back with 10 minutes to play, although his free-kick seemed to be deflected off French defender Lilian Thuram’s head into the goal.