France coach Raymond Domenech admitted he felt the pressure in his side's final Group G match against Togo.
France eventually won 2-0, but Domenech had to wait almost an hour before his side broke the deadlock - knowing that a draw would see his team eliminated.
"It's stressful when you don't score, especially when we couldn't afford to concede a goal," Domenech said.
He added: "We're happy to get out of this group. All the games were close. It was not easy and went to the end."
Domenech hailed the performance of Juventus midfielder Patrick Vieira, who was celebrating his 30th birthday.
Vieira opened the scoring with a smartly taken goal in the 55th minute, and Domenech said: "I've been right for a long time about him, when others have not. He is exceptional.
I hope this qualification will help us play more freely because we aren't bad at all
"He scored a goal and he created a goal."
Victory secured second spot in Group G for France and set up a second-round tie against Group H winners Spain in Hanover on 27 June.
"Yes, it is a great match," Domenech said.
"I expected to play them but not in the same scenario. I thought they would finish second and we would finish first. But, never mind, it is a great match anyway."
Goalscorer Vieira said he expected better performances from France in the knockout stages after disappointing displays in the group stage.
France were held to draws by both Switzerland and South Korea.
"There's a great potential in this team and I hope this qualification will help us play more freely because we aren't bad at all," said Vieira.
"It took time and it was difficult but in the end we proved competitive and reached our first goal which was to advance to the second round."