Hugo Lloris admits ‘there is always a cloud above us before games’ regarding coronavirus after team-mate Adrien Rabiot had to withdraw from France squad ahead of Nations League final due to positive test
- Hugo Lloris says that there is still a cloud above us regarding coronavirus
- France midfielder Adrien Rabiot has pulled out of squad after a positive test
- Didier Deschamps’ side are preparing to take on Spain in Nations League final
Hugo Lloris admitted footballers were living under a cloud of uncertainty as France were struck by a Covid-19 outbreak on the eve of their UEFA Nations League final against Spain.
Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot was forced to pull out of Didier Deschamps’ squad after recording a positive test on Saturday.
‘We are disappointed and sad for Adrien,’ said France and Tottenham captain Lloris. ‘It is always a disappointment to see a team-mate leaving, especially before a final.
France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has admitted footballers are living under a cloud of uncertainty
Adrien Rabiot was forced to pull out of the France squad for the Nations League final after recording a positive test
‘We have known for a while that there is always this cloud above us before games. We always get tested before the games but Covid is still present and we need to keep protecting ourselves in order to be able to live and work the best we can.’
The French players were tested on Friday but the results were not known until 8am yesterday morning, just before the world champions left their camp in Turin for the short trip to Milan where today’s final will take place, at the San Siro.
‘It’s bad news obviously,’ said boss Deschamps. ‘We are in this sanitary environment and we can feel it is getting better every day but the fear is still there and the group is obviously affected. It is not easy.
‘As soon as we arrived in Milan we all did another rapid test and everybody is negative.’
Everton left-back Lucas Digne withdrew from the squad earlier in the week, after suffering a slight hamstring injury. Deschamps is left with only 21 players but the mood has been transformed by the thrilling comeback from two down to win 3-2 against Belgium in Thursday’s semi-final.
France boss Didier Deschamps admits ‘the fear is still there’ with regards to coronavirus
‘Mentally, we were quite down lately,’ said Lloris. ‘We needed a key game to get back on track and against Belgium everything was there to find this confidence.
‘We were looking to get back those feelings lost for a few months after the defeat against Switzerland in Euro 2020. The win against Belgium was more than welcome for French football and it is always a special moment to play in a final for your country.
‘Even if this competition doesn’t look like the World Cup or the Euros it is still a trophy to win.’
Antoine Griezmann is set to win his 100th cap, operating in a star-studded front line with Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema, and Luis Enrique is happy for his young Spain team, after stunning hosts and Euro 2020 winners Italy on Wednesday, to assume the role of outsiders once again.
Aymeric Laporte is set to face France for the first time since he switched allegiance to Spain
‘Individually, France are the best team in the world,’ said Enrique. ‘You only need to see the starting line-up and the clubs they play for. Their potential and quality is unquestionable.
‘But we are a team and we can be a better team. We can create problems and we won’t change our ideas. There is only one ball and if we have it they don’t. We have beaten the European champions and now it is the world champions, we need no other motivation and if we reach the result it will be with our own weapons.’
Aymeric Laporte will face France for the first time since changing his allegiance to Spain and his Manchester City teammate Ferran Torres, who score twice in the 2-1 win against Italy, is confident of being fit despite an ankle problem.