Belfast Telegraph

Hugo Lloris: France can now keep winning after emotional first night

By Staff Reporter

Hugo Lloris believes France can only grow stronger as the hosts' journey through Euro 2016 continues against Albania in Marseille.

Les Bleus opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over Romania on what was an emotional night at Stade de France.

The relief in Saint-Denis, and indeed around the whole nation, was palpable following a spectacular late strike from Dimitri Payet, the West Ham midfielder himself in tears when substituted during the closing stages.

Tottenham goalkeeper Lloris feels with the weight of expectation lifted following two years' of non-competitive internationals, Didier Deschamps' squad can take confidence into tonight's second Group A fixture at Stade Velodrome.

"We did not know what to expect in the first game, it was the opening match of the tournament and, yes, there is a bit more pressure than usual. During the national anthem, there was a special flavour to it," said Lloris.

"But we know the context here, we just need to keep winning in order to try to qualify after two matches. The positive aspect was taking all three points. It has given us a bit of breathing space and confidence, got us up and running in the competition.

"There are a few things we need to improve on such as ball possession, we weren't neat and tidy enough on the technical side, we missed a lot of passes and were a little bit nervous because it was the opening match of the competition. But now we are up and running it will be a completely different fixture (against Albania).

Albania may have lost their opening match against Switzerland in Lens but France will not be complacent.

Les Bleus were beaten 1-0 in a friendly in Elbasan in June 2015 and had previously been held 1-1 in Rennes

France v Albania, Euro 2016 Group A: Marseille, Today, 8.00pm

Belfast Telegraph