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FIFA World Cup 2018: France captain Hugo Lloris respects ‘special’ Croatia

Croatia are high-quality opponents and they deserve as much credit as us, says France skipper Hugo Lloris ahead of the final of the FIFA World Cup 2018.

football Updated: Jul 14, 2018 23:38 IST
Bhargab Sarmah
Bhargab Sarmah
Hindustan Times, Moscow
FIFA World Cup 2018,World Cup 2018,France vs Croatia
France's goalkeeper Hugo Lloris holds a press conference at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 14, 2018 on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia. (AFP)

One day ahead of the World Cup final against Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium here on Sunday, France coach Didier Deschamps and captain Hugo Lloris said the team is calm and not affected by the euphoria that has swept the country.

“There is no euphoria. Honestly, I don’t see it,” he told reporters in his pre-match press conference, adding that the feeling among the players was instead one of satisfaction.

“I have tried to convey to the players that they are probably facing the most beautiful game of their lives. It is a privilege to play this game; there is nothing more important,” he said.

Deschamps said his message to the players was to stay calm, confident and to concentrate.

READ | Luka Modric calls for check on emotions, seeks final World Cup hurrah

Skipper Lloris said the players have been keeping their mind away from the celebrations in France. “We are in our little bubble and we don’t know what is happening in France.”

“We face a high-quality opponent tomorrow. They deserve as much credit as we do,” said Lloris.

“We are ready to finish everything on a high note. It may be the most important match in our careers. We shouldn’t spread ourselves too thin on details,” said Lloris.

The goalkeeper was careful not to downplay the strength of their opponents.

“Croatia have shown their mental strength which is quite incredible. They have managed to qualify after extra-time three times in a row. There is something special in this team,” he said.

READ | Antoine Griezmann happy even if France win FIFA World Cup 2018 ‘ugly’

Asked to comment on Croatia’s star player Luka Modric, Deschamps hailed the diminutive midfielder’s influence on the team.

“Modric is very mobile and has a great technique base. He has a great influence on his team. Croatia are playing as a whole team. Modric can join an attacking play as well as in defence at any time,” he said.

With 14 players from his team having African ancestry, Deschamps said there was a sense of pride among his players to be representing the continent in the sport’s biggest game.

“They are all proud to be French. But through their origins, through their childhood, they have friends, families in these countries so they have a certain attachment to these countries and a certain pride that these people will see them play in a World Cup final,” he said.

First Published: Jul 14, 2018 22:59 IST