France captain Hugo Lloris says that the side’s disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign is not something that concerns them anymore, ahead of their group game against Switzerland today.
Les Bleus' previous tournament in South Africa notoriously ended in turmoil, with the team finishing bottom of their group after a player-led revolt over unpopular manager Raymond Domenech, exactly four years to the day.
The events led to a full-scale government inquiry, with bans handed out to then-captain Patrice Evra, Franck Ribery, Jeremy Toulalan and Nicolas Anelka for their parts in the debacle, and the entire setup widely derided in the press.
This time around however, under former World Cup-winning captain Didier Deschamps, the camp has been largely praised for its positive atmosphere going into the tournament, with even the likes of Manchester City’s in-form Samir Nasri omitted in order to maintain a harmonious group.
‘Honestly, we are not thinking about what happened in 2010. We are really concentrated and focused on tomorrow’s match and everybody is ready for this World Cup,’ Lloris said. ‘What happened is now in the past. Tomorrow really will be a difficult match.
‘It will be tough and challenging, and when you look at what’s happened in other groups, there are no minor teams and there are no minor matches. You have to take everyone seriously and you have to give one’s best to do the utmost to win.’
First-choice goalkeeper in 2010, Lloris is one of only four survivors from the last campaign, along with Bacary Sagna, Mathieu Valbuena and Evra, the latter fighting his way back from disgrace to become one of the core members of the current side.
Being handed the armband by previous manager Laurent Blanc in the run-up to Euro 2012, the 27-year-old has been a regular with the national team since late-2009 and is coming off a second solid season with Tottenham Hotspur, in which he further established himself as one of the Premier League’s top shot-stoppers.
After their 3-0 opening win over Honduras, France face a sterner test against main Group E rivals Switzerland, in a match that could prove vital in deciding which, if either, of the European outfits finish in top spot.
Nevertheless, with a front three of Valbuena, Karim Benzema and the promising Antoine Griezmann firing on all cylinders, as well as a sturdy midfield and solid back-four commanded by Lloris, Les Bleus will certainly be confident of victory tonight.