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Football: Knockout games bring the best out of France, says Lloris ahead of Swiss test

Football: Knockout games bring the best out of France, says Lloris ahead of Swiss test

France's Hugo Lloris during training. (Photo: REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

BUCHAREST: A depleted France will draw motivation from the threat of elimination as they prepare to face Switzerland in their European Championship last-16 match, captain Hugo Lloris said on Sunday.

World champions France topped Group F with one win and two draws ahead of Portugal and Germany but key players in their backline have picked up injuries to give coach Didier Deschamps a selection headache on Monday.

While Ousmane Dembele and Marcus Thuram are unavailable, Deschamps confirmed full backs Jules Kounde and Lucas Digne are also ruled out against the Swiss. Left back Lucas Hernandez, who injured his knee, has a chance to feature.

Speaking at a news conference, goalkeeper Lloris said France -- who finished runners-up in 2016 -- were accustomed to do-or-die situations and thrived under pressure.

"We can use this as motivation," Lloris said of the threat of elimination. "We are already a team of competitors. We don't like to lose and when we know we can be going home, we are even stronger."

Lloris added that it was essential for France to remain focused against Switzerland.

"We are approaching this like a completely different competition," the goalkeeper said. "We know we can't make any mistakes.

"We know the mental aspect (of the game) will play a role. This is certainly the key to our success."

With Hernandez and Digne both going off injured in their final group game against Portugal, Deschamps said a three-man defence he deployed in the UEFA Nations League last year was also an option but he kept his cards close to his chest.

"This is an option, of course, which may or may not be taken," he said. "But if I did it ... I am not going to tell you now."

Switzerland, who narrowly qualified for the knockout stages after finishing third in their group, have crashed out in the last-16 in their last three major tournaments.

But Deschamps said he was wary of the Swiss attacking trident of Xherdan Shaqiri, Breel Embolo and Haris Seferovic wreaking havoc.

"Since (Vladimir) Petkovic took charge, Switzerland have been a very good team," Deschamps added. "They've had an attacking trio since the start of the competition which creates a lot of problems.

"Even though they had a difficult game against Italy (a 3-0 loss), they remain a very good European nation.

"They have a formation that has evolved and adapted a little to the opponent... What I can tell you, what we intend is to go and create problems for them and win this game."

Source: Reuters

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