Belfast Telegraph

Lloris confident France can take the positives from final woe and enjoy a bright future

Ready to rebuild: Hugo Lloris
Ready to rebuild: Hugo Lloris

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Captain Hugo Lloris insists he still sees a "bright future" for France even after the disappointment of their Euro 2016 final defeat to Portugal.

Lloris was speaking after seeing his team freeze on the biggest stage, but he was still optimistic that his young side could rebound in time for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

After a few difficult years in which France were reeling from the politics and trauma of the collapse of their 2010 World Cup campaign, this team has at least been united and commanded the support of the country.

From that foundation, Lloris is confident that they can grow.

"We did our best and the most important thing is what we have created during the competition, between us, inside the team and the emotions that we've shared with all of the fans," Lloris said. "This is one of the good memories and I think we can build up something strong for the next few years.

"We have a young generation and I think the future has to be bright."

The Tottenham keeper admitted that he was "very disappointed" with the result and said that Portugal just had the edge on France in terms of physical freshness and spirit.

Portugal had three days' rest between their semi-final against Wales and the final, while France only had two, having played Germany on Thursday night in Marseille.

"We missed maybe a bit of luck, the luck of a champion," Lloris said.

"We had a good game but we needed to be a bit more clinical up front.

But it's difficult. We tried our best. We maybe had a lack of freshness as well.

"One more day for them maybe made a difference but this is football.

"We have no excuses. We were on the pitch.

"When you are a player at this stage of the competition, one day is very important and can make the difference. But we have no excuses."

Portugal only won one game all tournament in 90 minutes, beating France and Croatia in extra-time and Poland on penalties.

Lloris pointed to that as an example of the mental edge Fernando Santos' side had over most opponents.

"One thing that we can say about Portugal is their big mental strength and spirit," Lloris said.

"It is not a surprise when you win one, two, three games after extra-time, it means that inside a team there is something strong and special.

"That has made a difference. It's true that we had a great spirit in our squad from the beginning. It's just about details."

Bacary Sagna was in no mood to see France's run to the final as a success.

He said: "Everyone keeps saying that we had a great tournament but I can't take it.

"I can't take it because we lost. So to me, it's more of a disappointment than a success."

Belfast Telegraph