Hugo Lloris insists he is not the WEAK LINK in France’s World Cup bid after English media targeted him as Les Bleus’ Achilles heel… and warns he will answer his critics ‘on the ground’ in Saturday’s quarterfinal clash
Hugo Lloris has hit back at his critics in a press conference after claims that he is the Achilles heel in France’s star-studded squad ahead of Saturday’s quarterfinal clash with England.
The World Cup-winning goalkeeper has come in for increasingly poor reviews as a result of his footwork in Qatar, with British outlet The Telegraph claiming that he does not even come close to English keeper Jordan Pickford.
Hugo Lloris dismissed comparisons with Jordan Pickford claiming he would do his talking on the pitch
The Tottenham Hotspur shot-stopper was quick to brush aside claims of any pressure and insisted that as the tournament wears on, the demand for perfection only increases.
‘Not in a press conference, not through the media. The most important thing is the ground. We ignore all that,’ he insisted.
‘You don’t necessarily need motivation from outside for a World Cup quarter-final. They have their opinion, it will be necessary to answer on the ground.
His kicking has come under increasing criticism as the Qatar World Cup has progressed
‘The most important thing is to remain efficient and help the team. As far as the kicking game is concerned, we find ourselves in situations where all the teams are ready to press and put the raises in difficulty.
‘When you look at all the matches, you see the same thing. The teams are ready to press. When you reach this stage of the competition, you have to get closer to perfection in your choices to avoid putting the team in difficulty.’
Much has been made of the battle between Kyle Walker and Kylian Mbappe on Saturday, with the clash down England’s right-hand side being billed as the decisive duel in the tie.
The quarterfinal clash between France and England could be won and lost by the goalkeepers
However the duel between the two No 1s could prove equally important, with two contrasting goalkeepers coming into the clash at the heart of the defence.
Pickford has a far better passing success rate in Qatar and a superior penalty saving record
Pickford has long been England’s first choice with the gloves, and is an energetic, athletic goalkeeper, comfortable starting attacks with his feet.
Lloris though is a far calmer presence between the sticks, and one perhaps not as adept in playing out the back as his counterpart with a passing success rate of 61.3% to the Everton stopper’s 76.7% in Qatar.
Against Poland in the round of 16, The Spurs keeper managed only four accurate long balls from 15 attempts, and had a passing accuracy rating of just 53.9% from 26 passes.
The England stopper’s superior penalty record has also been pointed to as a potentially crucial aspect of the duel, with Pickford saving 11 of 42 (26%) non-shoot-out spot kicks, while Lloris has saved only 16 in 93 (17%).
Lloris is arguably the most successful keeper in France’s history, and is set for a record-breaking 143rd cap, but he could be in for a long day against England’s pace and press up front with his far-from-confident footwork sure to be targeted.