Defending champions Spain were drawn against 1998 winners France in World Cup 2014 qualifying on Saturday in the biggest match-up of the tournament.
Belarus, Georgia and Finland made up the five-team Group I from where just the pool winners are assured of qualification for the finals.
"It's an extremely difficult group," said Noel Le Graet, the head of the French Football Federation.
"We have time to progress but it's absolutely essential to finish first. We will face Spain and be very competitive. We still have a year and a half to get ready."
The qualifying round takes place from September 7, 2012 until October 15, 2013.
The eight best runners-up in the nine group competition will play-off with the winners also making the finals in Brazil.