The world may have billed this FIFA World Cup final as a Lionel Messi versus Kylian Mbappe final, but France captain Hugo Lloris said it would be foolish on his team’s part to just focus on the Argentine captain.
“I believe the event is too massive to focus on one player. It’s a final between two big nations but when you play that type of a player [Messi], you need special focus. But Argentina is a tough team with a young generation of players who are dedicated to Leo Messi,” Lloris said.
“Argentina is a very well organised side; they are strong defensively and are very aggressive on the press and they are great on the break when they have the ball. Over the years they have produced great players, like [Diego] Maradona and now Messi. They will be looking to win the final and it’s a tremendous opportunity to play the final against them. And I hope this match will go down in history.”
“I know Argentina, the world and even a few in France would want Messi to win, but we will try to achieve our objective.”France manager Didier Deschamps
The French team has been bogged down by a cold virus since its quarterfinal win with Kingsley Coman joining the likes of defender Dayot Upamecano and midfielder Adrien Rabiot in the sick bay.
But Lloris or coach Didier Deschamps didn’t have any new updates about their recovery.
“I have no more news since last night about the players who were not feeling well. You will get more information after our training session. No one was expecting this, but we are focussed about playing in a World Cup final,” the captain said.
Deschamps, too, said the team would wait till the last-minute to take a call on their participation.
“I left early, and the players were sleeping, and I have no updates. We are trying to be calm and trying to deal it the best possible way. We will wait till tomorrow to decide,” he said.
Both the captain and the coach is aware the support at the near-89000-seater Lusail Stadium would be predominantly Argentinian but played down the importance of fanatical fans in the final.
“We always have the support of our fans, and we know the French people are behind us and nothing else matters. We started this World Cup with an objective to go as far as we can and we are now in the final, four years after our last final and we will go all out to win it. We know what Messi means in history of football, but we are also here to win,” Lloris said.
His coach was a little more forthcoming and said that it can be lonely in the middle with the majority supporting the opposition.
“I often get that feeling [being alone] and I am fine being alone, that doesn’t bother me. These uncertainties always arise, but we are here, and we will be well prepared for the final against Argentina. Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni had challenges; they lost the first match, but they are here.
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Likewise, we also had challenges and yet we are here. We need to be focussed and composed, but a World cup final has a whole context behind it and objective is to come with the title, I know Argentina, the world and even a few in France would want Messi to win, but we will try to achieve our objective,” Deschamps said.
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