Lloris hails France's steely approach

EKATERINBURG • Hugo Lloris believes France have harnessed organisation and steel that will help them in the knockout stages.

Les Bleus had just 43 per cent of the ball when they beat Peru 1-0 to reach the last 16 on Thursday.

They were on the back foot for the last 20 minutes and goalkeeper Lloris admitted that the Ekaterinburg Arena did not feel like a neutral venue.

"Peru were aggressive. We were solid and managed to stay calm and lucid in the key moments," he said.

"It was a great collective display overall. We were very disciplined. In these matches, you have to know how to win 1-0 and stay strong, even at difficult moments.

"To be honest, it was like playing away from home and it was actually nice."

The France captain had to make only two saves though, as he was protected by those in front of him.

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    Successful tackles by N'Golo Kante in France's two games against Australia and Peru.

Midfielder N'Golo Kante won 13 tackles, after winning the ball 14 times in their opening Group C game against Australia, which France won 2-1.

"Everyone deserves congratulations," Lloris added. "We have found a disciplined France and that bodes well for the future."

France manager Didier Deschamps was also satisfied with the result, amid criticism that his side have been unconvincing in attack.

"I saw Spain v Iran (Spain laboured to a 1-0 win on Wednesday) and Spain spent the last 10 minutes defending," he said. "If you are looking for 5-0, don't come to a World Cup, you won't get this."

His side face Denmark on Tuesday for the top spot in Group C.

In contrast, Peru face Australia with their fate sealed and just pride to play for in front of their passionate and large following that has decamped to Russia.

Peru have attempted 27 shots without scoring in Russia - only Morocco (28) have had more without a goal.

For all the homework Peru coach Ricardo Gareca did on France, he could not mastermind a way to break the Europeans down.

"They are extremely versatile and quick," he said. "Unlike in other matches, they played with flexibility and tactical discipline to neutralise Peru.

"They corrected their style over the course of the game.

"France did some outstanding work in defence. We did not fall short. That was my impression. They were well structured."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2018, with the headline 'Lloris hails France's steely approach'. Subscribe