Hugo Lloris knows France need to be at their brilliant best to beat Argentina

Captain Hugo Lloris knows France will have to play beyond their limits to rise to the challenge of beating Lionel Messi’s Argentina and reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

Argentina scraped through to the knockout stage following a dramatic victory over Nigeria in their last group match, finishing as runners-up to Croatia.

Les Bleus, meanwhile, came top of Group C after two wins and a draw.

Spurs goalkeeper Lloris accepts France will now have to raise their performance in their last-16 clash in Kazan on Saturday.

He said: “This is going to be a big match, and a difficult one, we are going to have to step up our level.

“We should go beyond our limits, have to be full of energy, bet on our collective solidity and use it all.

“There has been a lot of excitement (in the French camp), because Argentina are a major contender, with great players and many supporters in the stadium.

“We hope to answer the call to continue with our (World Cup) adventure.”

With teams now having no margin for error in the knockout stage, when games could be settled on penalty kicks, Lloris is confident Les Bleus can produce the required focus.

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris feels France can up their game against Argentina.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris feels France can up their game against Argentina. (David Vincent/AP Photo)

“It should give us additional strength,” Lloris said at a press conference, broadcast by FIFATV on YouTube.

“We should make all of the effort possible and leave the pitch without regretting anything because each pass, kick or throw-in may be the last in the competition.”

Lloris feels France have their own potential matchwinner in Paris St Germain forward Kylian Mbappe.

He said of the 19-year-old: “Kylian has huge qualities and huge potential. He is fast, explosive and needs space, he will have that tomorrow, more than in the first three matches.

“He has the ability to make a difference in the great moments, I hope he does tomorrow.”

France manager Didier Deschamps, part of the national team which won the 1998 World Cup, gave little away on his plans to try to shackle the threat of Argentina’s talisman.

Didier Deschamps is set to take charge of France for his 80th match.
Didier Deschamps is set to take charge of France for his 80th match. (David Vincent/AP Photo)

“Messi is Messi,” he said. “Hopefully we would like to mark and neutralise him, but we know very well he can make the difference with very little.

“This is why he is different to others, because he is so unpredictable.

“There are several solutions to limit his impact, but also the rest of the Argentina team are very experienced – it is not built on Messi.”

Deschamps expects Lucas Hernandez to be available, but confirmed Manchester City left-back Benjamin Mendy would miss out because of a “small muscle problem”.

Saturday’s match will see Deschamps take charge of his 80th match, moving ahead of the mark set by Raymond Domenech.

“I am not fighting for records. What is important is we are all focused on our preparations,” said Deschamps, who guided France to the final of Euro 2016 on home soil.

“We have a young team, we will try to be competitive and do our utmost for everything to go well.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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