2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ – News – Lloris savouring his century
- Hugo Lloris celebrated his 100th cap against Peru
- France triumphed to seal their spot in the Round of 16
- The secret of his longevity: “Hard work and challenging myself”
Imperious during France’s second game at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, Hugo Lloris rode to his team’s rescue during the first half against Peru. It was a familiar sight, the goalkeeper having also averted disaster against Australia at almost the exact same moment in the match. But while he went on to concede a penalty against the Socceroos, this time Lloris held firm until the final whistle.
How important that clean sheet proved. Not only did he help Les Bleus book their spot in the Round of 16, the France captain also found the perfect way to celebrate a personal landmark – his 100th international cap. “I feel good,” he explained afterwards, before turning his focus to the team’s performance. “Together we were very solid and aggressive, and we stood up to Peru’s pressing. That was our platform.”
Lloris played his own role, of course, and he admitted to feeling moved by reaching his century. “On a personal level, I couldn’t have this enjoyed this 100th appearance more,” he said, having also worn the captain’s armband a record 76 times. “Despite that, for me it was like any other game: you have to put that to one side when you’re on the pitch. I stayed focused, professional, and my only motivation was to win and give everything for the team.”
Modest to a fault, the former Lyon custodian has never enjoyed being the centre of attention and at 31 years of age, with a decade in the France line-up behind him, he is clearly not about to change. Instead, he quickly shifted the spotlight back onto his team’s display: “We were able to make the difference with our goal and then we managed to control the game. I’m very satisfied.”
Enough to maybe speak a little more about his own achievement? It was worth one last try, with a prompt to discuss his longevity, consistency and strengths. What, in short, is Lloris’s secret? “Hard work,” he replied, possibly to nobody’s great surprise. “It’s always a question of hard work … and challenging yourself as well.”
That combination has allowed Lloris to make France’s No1 shirt his own since 2008. As the years roll on, however, he will eventually have to pass on the gloves – and he already has advice for any future challengers. “You have to learn to savour it,” explained the Nice academy graduate. “It flies by. To represent your country is an opportunity and a privilege, and you have to tell yourself that and repeat it because the years go by so quickly in football. It’s not enough to just be in the team: you have to stay there for as long as possible.”
The France captain has done just that for the last ten years, providing an obstacle at the back with solid performances and decisive saves. And he served another potent reminder of his worth by thwarting Paolo Guerrero with his feet against Peru, preventing a goal that could have changed the course of the game.
“Hugo deserves his record and it’s great that he was able to celebrate it without conceding,” added Olivier Giroud, quick to congratulate his skipper and give us his thoughts on a superb milestone. “He was very good once again this evening.” The rest of his team-mates – and a grateful nation – would no doubt concur.