As on the eve of every match of this World Cup, Hugo Lloris appeared before the press this Friday in Doha. An opportunity for the goalkeeper and the Blues captain to talk about the importance of Saturday’s match against Denmark (17:00). In case of victory, the tricolor players would have already reached the 1/8 finals.
Do you have a sense of revenge after the last two defeats against Denmark?
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HUGO LLORIS. This is another competition, but it sets the level of our opponent. Denmark is a very competitive team capable of challenging the best. We were warned, but we do not need additional motivation at this stage. We are aware of the importance of tomorrow’s match, it will be a difficult match, we must be ready. (…) We have a big mountain ahead of us and we need a big performance to win. It will be a fight, because the Danes, speaking against Tunisia, are obliged to get a result. It can be an interesting game to watch and play. We will have to do what is necessary on the ground.
What changes the return of Raphael Varane?
Within the group he brings his serenity, his calmness, his experience, he is a calm strength. He also brings his voice to the dressing room, he is the leader. He has been playing for the French national team for many years. He plays an important role in the team. We will need all our strength and, above all, we feel it! Despite the fear of missing the World Cup, he is fine, ready to help the team. We feel that he is ready to fight for the team.
How do you assess the evolution of Adrien Rabiot? Can he become an average leader?
A lot has been done for the absence of N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, who for several years were the main players in the French team in midfield. But we forgot that other players can take over their duties. Adrian has this profile. Thanks to what he is doing with Juventus, the World Cup comes at the right time. He showed off his qualities against Australia by scoring a goal when France were slightly underperforming and providing the decisive assist to Olivier Giroud. We know his talent, his ability to work hard. He makes a lot of runs, technically he is also a very elegant player. He can help our team go far.
Speaking of Brazil, what do you think of Richarlison’s stunning goal on Thursday night? And Neymar, injured, is he needed for this World Cup?
Neymar is an icon of world football, but I won’t expand further because I don’t know the severity of his injury. As for Richarlison, I am very happy for him. He may not be the most anticipated player, but he has excellent qualities. He scored by far the best goal of the tournament so far, which is good for him. We know Brazil and their status as favourites, they have done everything they can to make this World Cup start in the best possible way.
Is it difficult for the captain to answer all the questions on the field?
You may lose some of your energy. It’s personal, it’s the positions of the other players, but I’m still focused on what’s most important to us, which is the game and football. Here are the reasons that brought us here. The best way to represent our country is through speeches, emotions, and this is the result. We French have chosen this path.
What do you think of this group?
In order to go far in the competition, it is better to have a group that lives well, with good energy, with a good mood, and this is so. Despite the circumstances, we have always responded in the best possible way. We can really judge the value of this group as we face challenges and advance further in the competition. We have a good base camp, a good training center. We just need to focus on sleep, recovery and the quality of our training. I see involved young people who go to the gym in the morning even without an invitation, this shows their involvement, the right attitude. It is very good.
What can you say about Antoine Griezmann and his role on the pitch?
Especially I see Antoine with a smile, he tries both in attack and defense. Being in the center of the game allows him to communicate with each other, this is where he expresses himself best. We could see him against Australia, he is a team player, but it was only his first match. We must give continuity to the last performance.