France’s Hugo Lloris: Euro 2016 was strange from beginning to end

France's Hugo Lloris reacts

Hugo Lloris described Euro 2016 as having been “strange from the beginning until the end,” as he reflected on Portugal’s extra time victory over his France team in Sunday night’s final.

The France captain and some of his team-mates clearly felt that they had done enough to have won over the 90 minutes and, equally, it was not lost on them that Portugal had advanced to the knockout rounds after finishing third in their group, behind Hungary and Iceland.

Lloris was asked whether he found it odd that a team which had finished in third place at the group stage could reach the final. “This tournament was strange from the beginning until the end,” replied the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper. “The one thing we can say about Portugal is that it’s about their mental strength and their spirit. When you see them winning three games after extra time, it means that there is something strong and special inside the team.

“It’s difficult to find the words [to explain the defeat]. It’s true that we are all very disappointed. We tried our best and we missed, maybe, a bit of luck – the luck of the champion. We played all the games to win this game. It was a bit different for Portugal. They were more waiting for a mistake, waiting for a counterattack or set-pieces. But they played in this way all the competition and, at the end, they won. It’s football.”

France were the more attacking team at the Stade de France on Sunday and created the chances to have won in 90 minutes. Antoine Griezmann headed over when gloriously placed on 66 minutes and the substitute, André-Pierre Gignac, hit the post in stoppage time. The Portugal goalkeeper, Rui Patrício, was fully extended on four occasions. And yet France did not score and nor did they truly convince with their performance.

“It’s a massive, massive, massive disappointment,” Bacary Sagna, the full-back, said. “Everyone was thinking about winning the cup, everyone was so focused and everyone was very confident. And we lose. The way it happened – it’s a bad feeling.

“We have to accept that Portugal won the cup, even though we were the better team – we gave a lot and we were a bit unlucky. So congratulations to them and tomorrow is another day. Everyone keeps saying that we had a great tournament but I can’t take that. I can’t take that, because we lost. So, to me, it’s more of a disappointment than a success.”

Lloris lamented the lack of a clinical edge up front while he also felt the extra day of preparation that Portugal had enjoyed had helped them in extra time. “We maybe had a lack of freshness,” the 29-year-old said. “When you are a player at this stage of the competition, one day is very important and can make, maybe, the difference. Maybe it made the difference. But this is football. We have no excuses.

“We did our best and the most important thing is what we have created during the competition – between us, inside the team and the emotions that we’ve shared with all of the fans. This is one of the good memories and I think we can build up something strong for the next few years. We have a young generation and I think the future has to be bright.”

Powered by article was written by David Hytner in Paris, for The Guardian on Monday 11th July 2016 14.00 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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