France ended their campaign on Tuesday night with a 3-0 win over Finland to finish three points behind group winners Spain.
One point from games against Georgia and Spain had put Les Bleus on the back foot coming into their final two matches and although they beat both Belarus and Finland handsomely, it was not enough to bridge the gap with the World Cup holders.
Now France face a two-leg play-off next month and, following their slide down the world rankings, they will be unseeded and therefore could need to beat the likes of Portugal if they are to travel to South America.
For Deschamps the final standings were as he had expected and he told reporters: "We fought for first place.
"Finally it makes sense that Spain finished ahead. But we fought.
"This has been a very good run. We lost only once - against Spain - and had two draws.
"It remains only to emerge victorious from the play-offs in November which is where the story ends really."
Franck Ribery opened the scoring against the Finns with a Joona Toivio own goal rounded off by Karim Benzema's second goal in consecutive games following a nightmare spell for the Real Madrid striker.
"This is what we wanted," Deschamps added. "The score could have been been even more severe.
"Karim is back, that is two goals in two matches. It will do him good."
Benzema had gone 1222 minutes without scoring for France before his strike in the 6-0 friendly win against Australia last Friday.
The 25-year-old said: "It was a good ten days for the France team and for me because eyes were on me, as usual.
"I just experienced the most difficult period of my young career , but I always had confidence in me."
A number of players pointed to Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo as the opponent they most want to avoid with Ribery refusing to countenance failure to successfully negotiate the play-offs.
"It is special because there is more pressure," said Ribery.
"But we'll have to play our game and show solidarity to show that we want to go to Brazil .
"To not go, it would be a crazy thing. We do not even have to think (about that). "