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October 18, 2018

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Lloris hails French mental strength

TOTTENHAM Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris hailed the mental strength that saw World Cup winner France overcome a patchy opening period to beat Germany 2-1 on Tuesday.

Germany travelled to the Stade de France in Paris looking for the win that would salvage its UEFA Nations League campaign, and some pride, following its disastrous World Cup.

Joachim Loew’s side got the start it wanted when Toni Kroos fired a 14th-minute penalty past Lloris.

But after a half-time pep talk from coach Didier Deschamps, the hosts emerged after the interval to see Antoine Griezmann level just after the hour, and he clinched the win by converting an 80th-minute penalty.

Les Bleus captain Lloris was one of several players who admitted the hosts had desperately needed to raise their game against a rejuvenated Germany side that showed plenty of promise.

“When we lift our level, the players’ talents really come to the fore,” said Lloris.

He also hailed France’s defensive efforts in the closing minutes. “We had to stay alert at the back... stay calm and composed so as not to concede the second goal.”

Following a scoreless draw against Germany in Munich, a 2-1 win over the Netherlands and a tense 2-2 draw with Iceland, France sits top of Group 1.

Germany is bottom on one point after failing to register a win in the competition so far following its draw with France and a humbling 0-3 defeat to the Netherlands at the weekend. The result also eliminated Germany from Nations League title contention, and left it needing to beat the Netherlands in its final group match on November 19 if it is to avoid relegation from the top tier.

But a defiant Loew praised his team’s display as the coach lamented “a totally unjust penalty” awarded to the hosts.

Loew insisted he was “very pleased” with the performance as Germany was much improved compared to the team that lost 0-3 against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

“I’m disappointed with the result, although I must say the defeat is different to Saturday’s,” said Loew.

“Not because of the result but because of the performance. I’m very pleased with the performance.

“I think we were on an even level with what is probably the best team in the world.

“But France has a lot of individual quality, and if you’re not careful you’ll get punished straight away.”

A first defeat to the neighboring Dutch in 16 years prompted Loew to make five changes for the trip to Paris, as he injected additional pace into the attack with the inclusions of Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry.


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