France in safe hands with goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris

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The only question mark over Lloris is his ability on penalties and he was beaten from the spot by Australia's Mile Jedinak in the opening game, but Deschamps had a response to those who doubted Lloris ahead of the quarterfinal against Uruguay.

What makes Lloris' saves more impressive is that France don't receive many shots at goal, just 16 in six World Cup games, meaning it is vital for him to maintain concentration during periods of inactivity.

Compare his record of 73.3 percent of shots saved with Spain's David de Gea, who made just one save in his side's four games in Russia, being beaten by six of the seven shots he had to try and stop.

With 103 international caps, France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is one of the veterans of the squad at the age of just 31 and he has been vital in helping them qualify for Sunday's final against Croatia.

The mark of a quality goalkeeper, however is to leave their errors in the past and that is what Lloris has done. He has a save percentage of 73.3 percent in the competition and conceded just four goals with three of those coming in the 4-3 win over Argentina. He has kept four clean sheets in six games so far.

Paul Giblin

If any of those efforts had ended up in the back of the net, things could have been very different for France.

"You think our first-choice keeper doesn't know how to save penalties? Lloris is going to play and if everything goes well, he will still be there in the final," said the French coach.

Belgium goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, who has also had an excellent World Cup, commented that Lloris was "a great keeper, who has made the difference."

MOSCOW, July 13 (Xinhua) -- If a team is to win the World Cup it needs its key players to appear in the decisive moments of the game and that is truer than ever in the case of the goalkeeper.

But it's not just the saves that Lloris has made, it is when he made them that is so important. A reflex save from Matthew Leckie at 0-0 against Australia, a block to deny Paolo Guerrero at 0-0 against Peru; a fingertip stop to frustrate Martin Caceres at 0-0 against Uruguay in the last eight; and a brilliant effort to keep out Toby Alderweireld's strike with the scores level in the 1-0 semifinal triumph over Belgium.

Although he has been acclaimed by the media, his coach and companions in Russia, Lloris was under the spotlight as the tournament began after a slightly disappointing season with English side Tottenham Hotspur and an error in the warm-up game against the United States.

No wonder France coach Didier Deschamps said after the semifinals, "it's not a save, it is worth a goal." Central defender Raphael Varane added his praise saying, "thank you, we are in your hands."








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