Captain Robbie Keane has urged the Republic of Ireland not to throw away all their hard work as they attempt to wrench World Cup qualification away from France.
The French took a huge stride towards next summer's finals in South Africa by winning 1-0 at Croke Park last night, courtesy of Nicolas Anelka's deflected 72nd-minute strike.
However, far from being ready to accept a fate many will now feel is inevitable, Keane insists Giovanni Trapattoni's men should head into Wednesday night's play-off showdown in Paris believing they can still qualify.
He said: "If you look since the manager has come in, we have been solid away from home and very hard to beat.
"Now our backs are against the wall a little bit and we are up against it.
"But there's a carrot dangling at the end of it, it's the World Cup and the lads are desperate to go to it.
"Obviously, we would be devastated and disappointed after all the hard work we have done so far if we didn't qualify.
"But we have got a chance, there's no question about that."
The Republic had hoped to head into the game at the Stade de France defending a lead, but a first defeat in 11 games since they launched their qualification bid has left them needing the kind of result that has eluded them for a generation.
But Keane has warned his team-mates they might as well not bother turning up on Wednesday if they do not believe they can emerge with victory.
He said: "The lads were obviously disappointed, conceding the goal. We wanted to get a clean sheet and go over there without them scoring, but unfortunately, that wasn't the case.
"But we said in the dressing room after the game, we have to believe and think positively now about Wednesday because if we don't start believing now we can go to France on Wednesday and win the game, there's no point going there."
Chances were few and far between for Keane and strike partner Kevin Doyle last night, although the captain was involved in their two most promising openings.
France keeper Hugo Lloris made a fine first-half block to keep out the Tottenham frontman's close-range shot with Patrice Evra just managing to deflect Liam Lawrence's follow-up wide, and Lloris crucially denied Glenn Whelan three minutes from time after he had run on to Keane's lay-off.
Keane said: "We had a few chances, so we can take positives from that. We know we will go there on Wednesday and certainly we can create chances.
"Unfortunately for us, they got a bit of luck with the goal. We had a few half-chances which just didn't run our way, and they got the luck.
"It's just one of those things and we have to be positive now and not dwell on tonight too much.
"Of course we are disappointed, there's no question about it - you don't like losing any game - but we have to focus now and our full attention will be on Wednesday's game."