Soft-spoken Lloris set to match France caps record in Poland game

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - France Press Conference - Main Media Center, Doha, Qatar - December 3, 2022 France's Hugo Lloris arrives for the press conference REUTERS/Gareth Bumstead

DOHA, Dec 3 (Reuters) - France's Hugo Lloris began his international career a few months after Lilian Thuram hung up his boots, and on Sunday the keeper will match the great defender's record of 142 caps when the defending champions take on Poland in the last 16 at the World Cup.

Thuram's career with Les Bleus ended on a bitter note, in a 4-1 defeat against the Netherlands in the group phase of Euro 2008, where France failed to make it into the quarter-finals.

The soft-spoken Lloris will not be making any fuss about matching Thuram's record, however, as he focuses on helping France secure a spot in the last eight in Qatar.

"It's no mean feat, I'm very honoured and proud of these numbers, even if on the eve of a World Cup Round of 16, this is obviously secondary," the 35-year-old Tottenham Hotspur keeper, who has spent 12,866 minutes between the posts for France, told a news conference.

"For me, this competition comes first and I want to save all my energy for tomorrow's game because we have a new battle ahead of us and we will need all our strength.

"That's something I would definitely appreciate more once the competition is over, hopefully in the best way."

Lloris, who has been in the starting lineup in all his appearances for France, has also captained the team a record 118 times and kept a clean sheet on 61 occasions - another France record - and was key in their 2018 World Cup winning campaign.

Coach Didier Deschamps comes second having worn the skipper's armband 54 times.

"Records are bound to be broken. Hugo will equal that of 'Tutu'. They are both exemplary players, great professionals, who have maintained themselves at a very, very high level," said Deschamps.

"All records have a meaning, some are perhaps more insignificant than others. This one speaks for itself, because of the number of appearances it represents for years and years at the highest level."

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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