June 20, 2018 / 3:43 PM / 4 months ago

Skipper Lloris tells French team to soak up pressure and deliver

YEKATERINBURG, Russia (Reuters) - France’s players must overcome the pressure they felt in the opening match against Australia and go “beyond their capacity” if they are to ensure progress to the last 16 of the World Cup, skipper Hugo Lloris said on Wednesday.

Soccer Football - World Cup - France Training - Ekaterinburg Arena, Yekaterinburg, Russia - June 20, 2018 France's Hugo Lloris during training REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

France were made to work hard by a determined Australia in their Group C opener on Saturday before sealing a 2-1 win with the help an Antoine Griezmann penalty and an own goal by Aziz Behich which deflected off a strike by midfielder Paul Pogba.

“There is always pressure in all matches in the World Cup. This is when you must go beyond your capacity as a competitor,” Lloris told a news conference ahead of Thursday’s match against Peru at the Ekaterinburg Arena.

France have one of the youngest teams at the World Cup, with 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe and 21-year-old Ousmane Dembele among those tasked with leading the attack.

Soccer Football - World Cup - France Training - Ekaterinburg Arena, Yekaterinburg, Russia - June 20, 2018 France's Hugo Lloris during training REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

“I have played in a World Cup before so the pressure is felt differently for me, but there is pressure and we are hoping to find a better way of playing,” Lloris said. “If we don’t raise our way of playing, we will have difficulties.”

The goalkeeper said the South Americans were unlucky in their 1-0 defeat by Denmark in their opening game.

“They did deserve better against Denmark. They are a tough team to beat. Their players are committed... there’ll be plenty of aggression and intensity,” Lloris added.

“We have to win this match to give us confidence and help us go forward in the competition.”

Lloris is set to earn his 100th cap for France on Thursday.

“It is great personal pride to reach this symbolic number, but it is secondary because we are at the World Cup. You have to enjoy it... the best way to enjoy this is to keep on winning.”

Editing by Christian Radnedge

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