France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has warned his team-mates that there is more to Uruguay than their star strike duo Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez. Les Bleus begin their Group A campaign against the skilful South Americans in Cape Town on Friday night, and Lloris expects them to prove a handful.
"We know them," the 23-year-old Lyon goalkeeper said of Atletico Madrid star Forlan and Ajax's Suarez. "They are clever in front of goal, far or near. But it is not just these two players. We must be wary of the whole Uruguay team. For us, the most important thing is to take our game and provide the means to win. We know the importance of this first game."
Raymond Domenech's side have not had the most promising build-up in terms of results, however. They went down 1-0 to China last Friday, having come from behind to edge Costa Rica 2-1 and being held to a 1-1 draw by Tunisia in their previous warm-up games.
But Lloris is far from perturbed. He said: "They are warm-up matches. They are there to make mistakes. The most important thing is to do the basics well, to analyse things and make improvements immediately in the next game. Today, in the squad, everyone is saying the same thing - everyone has the same ideas and the same goal. We know where we are going. What we need to improve is our efficiency in the final 35 metres, the final pass, what choice to make."
He added: "Even though everyone is aware that there are still areas for improvement in the group, the atmosphere is good. The group is serene and confident. We will need everyone. In this kind of competition, matches are won not by 11 players, but by 23."
France's 1998 FIFA World Cup™-winning coach Aime Jacquet believes France's disappointing build-up results could work in their favour in South Africa. Asked if he is worried, he told L'Equipe: "No. Paradoxically, I would say it is a very good thing. Today, players should be angry because of losing the third game, against China. I tell you that against Uruguay, their concentration will be twice as strong."
Jacquet has warned Les Bleus, however, that they must not live on past glories. The 68-year-old added: "Each team has its footballing history. It is important to tap into, but you must not rely on it. If players do that, they make a small mistake."
France will also face Mexico and hosts South Africa in the group stages.