Hugo Lloris believes Tottenham team-mate Harry Kane “must have been feeling the pressure” after the striker’s missed penalty helped France into the World Cup semi-finals.
Kane had already scored a penalty to equalise for England after Aurelien Tchouameni’s long-range opener, but Olivier Giroud put France back ahead with just 12 minutes to play.
Kane then received a golden chance to level again from the spot after Theo Hernandez inexplicably bundled over Mason Mount in the France area.
However, the England captain blazed his penalty well over before France saw out the remaining minutes to keep alive their hopes of becoming the first team since Brazil in 1962 to retain their World Cup crown.
Lloris feels his club team-mate felt the weight of the moment, causing him to balloon his spot-kick over the crossbar.
“The first one, we know each other so well that I said to myself he’ll change, but he stayed with his usual,” Lloris told France’s Twitter account. “The second one, I went the right way.
“Certainly, he must have been feeling the pressure so he lifted it a bit, he forced it a bit. It was an important moment in the game.”
— Equipe de France (@equipedefrance)
France won Saturday’s game despite England having double the amount of shots as the reigning world champions, while registering 2.41 xG (expected goals) to France’s 1.01.
Laurent Blanc, who coached Les Bleus between 2010 and 2012 having won 97 caps as a player, cited France’s superior experience deep into tournaments as the reason for the quarter-final victory.
“You always have to respect your opponent,” Blanc told reporters. “I found a very good French team, but I honestly found a very good English team. It’s been a while since I’ve seen an England team so good.
“We won, I think, because we have perhaps a little more experience and then the fate was more favorable to the French than to the English.”
France’s path to their second straight World Cup final is now only blocked by Morocco, whose fairytale run to the final four has seen them become the first African nation to get this far in the tournament’s history.
Blanc says Morocco must be treated as a very capable opponent and suggested complacency cannot creep in.
“I think it will be a great game, you know the history of the two countries, they are very close,” Blanc explained.
“We must respect the opponents who are surprises and Morocco, I think, in the semi-finals of the World Cup, is a surprise.
“But when you get to the semi-final of the World Cup, yes you were considered a surprise at the beginning but when you get there, you can no longer be a surprise. So it means that they have very good players, a very good coach.
“So here we are, may the best team win and we will watch it with great interest.”