Captain Hugo Lloris believes France’s star-studded squad are about to embark upon the most important matches of their careers as they chase glory for the host nation at Euro 2016.
Didier Deschamps team begin their Group A campaign against Romania in Saint-Denis on Friday and Lloris conceded to feeling swept up by the sense of anticipation among the home faithful.
France’s starting XI will be comprised of players who have regularly competed for and won their highest honours at club level, but the Tottenham goalkeeper insists the challenge before them for Les Bleus in unparalleled.
“Listen, I won’t hide the fact from you that this morning we felt something different because we left Clairefontaine [France’s training base] and came across some fans as we checked into the team hotel,” he said.
“There was a rise in our adrenaline levels. There are expectations and we are looking forward to tomorrow.
“Clearly it’s the most important competition of all of our careers. If you were to ask that same question to my team-mates they would answer in the same fashion.”
The combination of home advantage and a crop of gifted players in prime form, such as Juventus powerhouse Paul Pogba and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, has led many commentators to tip France for the title.
Lloris was keen to temper such talk by pointing to the big-game pedigree of world champions Germany and two-time defending European kings Spain.
“We don’t feel like favourites at all. We haven’t done anything, we haven’t proved anything thus far,” he said.
“Playing on home soil gives us a positive and we have to make the most of that. We have won nine of our last 10 matches at home and that gives us a degree of confidence but everything still needs to be done.”
Nevertheless, the ultimate target for Lloris is clear.
“You can always make mistakes,” he added. “But as long as you have that right mindset, the desire to win challenges… if we are able to harness that then we can achieve great things.”
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