Hugo captained the French national side in Tuesday night’s remarkable play-off turnaround, as Les Bleus overturned that two-goal first leg shortfall with a 3-0 victory on the night – giving them a 3-2 win on aggregate and ensuring their progress to the tournament finals.
And with the dust settling on a dramatic qualification campaign, goalkeeper Hugo admits the mentality of himself and his compatriots played a key part in seeing off Ukraine.
“I think in our minds we still believed in our chances of qualifying,” said our 26-year-old stopper.
“We were in a difficult situation because of the two goals conceded, but I think we had a great belief and all the players were determined to come back and go through.”
With the whole nation looking on after that disappointing first leg, goals from Mamadou Sakho and Karim Benzema ensured France went in at half-time on level terms on Tuesday night.
The decisive third goal arrived on 72 minutes when Sakho steered home under pressure from Oleg Gusev, with Ukraine down to 10 men following the dismissal of Yevhen Khacheridi for a second yellow card earlier in the second period.
France then saw out of the remainder of the game, with the party starting on the final whistle.
“Yes, we had a good feeling yesterday after the game,” smiled Hugo. “It was a good sensation that we shared with all our fans, all the French people.
“It was a great moment in our careers because it was so important and now we can be focussed on the World Cup.”