It ended up being one of the greatest World Cup finals ever but for the better part of normal time, France were down and out after conceding two goals to Argentina untin Mbappe came alive towards the end to score twice and force extra time.
Argentina took the lead again in extra time through Lionel Messi before Mbappe scored his hattrick goal of the night to force a penalty shootout where France eventually came up short.
Onlookers wondered whether the virus that broke out earlier in the week was responsible for their poor start to the game but the France captain debunked those claims.
“The virus? We’re not going to look for excuses, we gave it our all, we did not cheat. We must congratulate the guys because until the end, we will not have given up.”
When asked about the match itself, Lloris could not hide his disappointment in their defeat but praised his teammates for fighting till the end.
“It’s a painful story, in any case that ends in a painful way. It’s true that we missed the first half, with a lot of technical waste, we don’t win the duels, they put us in difficulty. Logically they took the lead. In the middle of the second half, we had the burst of pride and the talent of Kylian to come back to 2-2. It was like a boxing match, blow for blow. Argentina had a successful start to the game, being aggressive, using all aspects of the game. We were a bit reactive all evening.
“There were a lot of great players on the pitch. Messi and Mbappe are very special and were top tonight, top, top players for the team. It’s hard when you lose and you cannot find the right words because it’s too painful. But we gave it our best shot from the start to the end of this tournament and we should be proud of that.”
France’s coach, Didier Deschamps did not blame their loss on the virus either but admitted that there was a bit of fatigue that set in after their hard fought win over Morocco four days prior.
“The whole of the squad has been facing a tricky situation for a while and maybe that had a physical and psychological impact but I had no concerns about the players who started. They were 100 per cent fit but we only had four days since the last match so there is some tiredness perhaps. We just didn’t show the same energy as in previous matches and it is why for the first hour or so we weren’t in the match.”