July 10, 2018 / 9:59 PM / 4 months ago

Soccer-Ironic twist to French fears in semi-final win, says Lloris

ST PETERSBURG, July 10 (Reuters) - France were concerned about Belgium’s ability at set pieces but instead scored themselves from a corner to book a place in the World Cup final in an ironic twist, said captain Hugo Lloris after Tuesday’s 1-0 win.

Samuel Umtiti headed home from a corner six minutes into the second half saw France through to a meeting with either Croatia or England in Sunday’s final.

“We feared them on set pieces but in the end it was us who scored that way,” Lloris told reporters after Monday’s 1-0 win over Belgium in the semi-final at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.

France’s goalkeeper also made two key saves to add to some similar heroics in the previous rounds but looked to play down his individual performance.

“We all try to be there to help the team and that will be our outlook again when play on Sunday,” he said of the match in Moscow, where France will play in the final of a second successive major tournament.

They lost in extra time in Paris in the final of the 2016 European Championship to Portugal.

“It was very difficult to accept what happened two years ago, and we do not want that to happen again. We want to finish this tournament in the best possible way.”

But before then there would be time for Lloris and teammates to let their hair down briefly after Tuesday’s triumph.

“It’s hard to let ourselves be euphoric just yet, but it’s a fantastic feeling (to be in the final),” he said.

“This is just one more step, albeit a very important one. We played a very good match in terms of our organisation. We were competitive in all departments.” (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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