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Lloris tempers talk of Ireland revenge mission

Hugo Lloris does not expect Republic of Ireland’s controversial World Cup qualifying play-off defeat to France in 2009 to have any bearing on Sunday’s Euro 2016 clash in Lyon.

The hosts take on Martin O’Neill’s team in the last 16 in a first meeting between the sides since Thierry Henry’s unpunished handball set up an aggregate winner for William Gallas in extra time at the Stade de France, denying Ireland a place at South Africa 2010.

Wes Hoolahan suggested the Irish “owe France one” seven years down the line but Lloris, who played that night in Saint-Denis, feels the passage of time will quell any sense of a revenge mission.

“I don’t know if the Irish are necessarily out for revenge,” said France’s captain and goalkeeper. “That’s part of history, that’s in the past.

“This fixture is part of the European Championship at home and we have noticed since the start of the tournament we have been, a little bit, the team to beat. Other sides have extra motivation to beat the hosts.

“That is no doubt going to be another aim for the Irish, but we are preparing very calmly on our side of things and we need to make sure we are ready for the battle.”

Lloris repeated the term “battle” during his pre-match news conference and the Tottenham keeper claimed this was due to Ireland’s similarity in style to their British neighbours. 

“I use this word because we are very familiar with the British sides,” he said. “They put a lot of heart into their performance.

“We need to be very committed right from the outset to make sure they don’t grow in confidence too much.

“Then it will be up to us to use the ball well, to set our attacks up nicely and try to make the difference with our strengths.”

Lloris will break boss Didier Deschamps’ record when he captains France for a 55th time but he played down comparisons with the team’s previous great leaders.

“I think that’s just rather circumstantial,” he added. “Of course, it’s nice but to be honest at this moment in time I’m more focused on the competition as a whole and what matters most to me and my team-mates is to go as far as possible in the European Championship.

“I have no desire to compare myself to Didier Deschamps, what he might have represented as a player or a captain, or indeed Michel Platini. Football evolves, as indeed to people’s mentalities.

“I have this role and responsibility. I try to give 100 per cent and apply myself as much as possible for the team.”

Sat 25 Jun, 2016
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