However, French captain Hugo says Les Blues refuse to underestimate minnows ahead of European competition’s quarter-final in Paris tonight
Paris: France captain Hugo Lloris vowed the Euro 2016 hosts would not be caught out by surprise quarter-finalists Iceland in today’s tie in Paris.
France are seeking to emulate their 1984 European Championship success on home soil, but goalkeeper Lloris is well aware of the dangers posed by Iceland after the North Atlantic islanders shocked England 2-1 in the last 16.
France players arrive for a training session in Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines, Paris on Saturday. France face Iceland in a quarter-final clash. pic/AFP
“It’s not by chance Iceland have made it through,” Lloris told a press conference on Saturday.
“The extension (to 24 teams) which has allowed smaller countries to take part in the competition has shown that there are no longer any small sides in Europe.
“Iceland have had a great run since the beginning of the tournament. We have a lot of respect for Iceland, we watched their great performance against England and we won’t be surprised.”
Lloris highlighted the fact that cohesive team performances have by and large trumped any individual brilliance at Euro 2016, with the continent’s smaller nations leaving their mark on the tournament.
“There have been surprises right from the outset of this tournament. We’re also aware it’s not simply enough to play good football and be a top side to make it into the last four,” he said. “The best sides that have played the best football are not necessarily still in the competition.
“I think it’s now more of a team mindset that we have and the difference will ultimately be made by a team’s mental strength.”
Number of wins France have registered over Iceland in their previous 11 meeting; three games have been draws