France captain Hugo Lloris has defended his team-mates after comparisons have been made between the team’s behaviour at Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup finals debacle.
The 28-year-old Lyon star told L’Equipe that the incidents involving volatile forward Samir Nasri were unfortunate but should not be used to overplay what was generally a far better experience than the South African catastrophe.
While Nasri had two unwelcome outbursts aimed at the press, and Hatem Ben Arfa had a row with coach Laurent Blanc in the changing room after the 2-0 loss to Sweden in the group stages, Lloris was taken aback to have the two campaigns linked.
In 2010, Lloris witnessed Nicolas Anelka’s foul-mouthed outburst at then-coach Raymond Domenech at half-time of the group match with Mexico and then was part of the mutiny that saw the players refuse to get off the coach and train in protest at Anelka’s expulsion.
“The two have nothing to do with each other,” said Lloris. “They are two totally different situations. In 2010 we were completely unprofessional, totally out of order, both on and off the pitch.
“At Euro everyone played their s out, both in training and in the games themselves.”
Lloris said Nasri had placed himself under too much pressure over his performances but still should not have said what he did.
“I do not condone what Samir said but I would point out he has apologised since,” he said.
“However, what I find totally unacceptable is that the French squad’s behaviour is then summed up by these incidents. How can you erase all the good that has been done in the past two years with that?
“The French team doesn’t deserve that and numerous players don’t deserve to be tarred with the same brush.
“There are those who didn’t play at all like Mathieu Valbuena and those that lost their place such as Patrice Evra who behaved in exemplary fashion throughout the tournament.
“To sum up the behaviour of 23 players by these two incidents is totally unfair.”
Lloris, who made his senior international debut in 2008, also said winger Jeremy Menez should not be punished for angrily gesticulating at him during the 2-0 quarter-final defeat by Spain, where he basically told the goalkeeper to shut up.
“To be honest it was me who started it. On the pitch there is no time to say ‘please, excuse me’. So, we may yell at each other but afterwards we shake hands and make up.
“If they punish Jeremy Menez then they will have to punish me. However, it is time to stop going after those who are nice and polite guys, those who have a good head on their shoulders…” said Lloris.
Lloris also believes it is best for the squad that Blanc remains as coach and is offered a new contract.
“Today everyone adheres to the coach’s philosophy and strategy,” he said.
“The decision over the future direction of the team belongs to the (French Football Federation) president (Noel Le Graet) and the coach, not us. But we are in favour of him continuing in his role.”