France captain Hugo Lloris said the World Cup in Qatar marked a shift towards the team’s new generation led by Kylian Mbappe following Sunday’s final defeat to Argentina.
Argentina triumphed 4-2 in a penalty shootout after the final in Doha ended 3-3 in extra time despite a hat-trick from 23-year-old Mbappe, just the second ever in a World Cup final.
The tournament was “a passing of the baton between one generation coming to the final stage of their careers to a new generation led by Mbappe,” said goalkeeper Lloris, who turns 36 later this month.
Lloris, France’s record appearance maker with 145 caps, said Mbappe “showed strong leadership during the tournament and even more so in this final”.
“It was like a boxing match, we went blow for blow,” said Lloris, who hailed the defending champions’ recovery from 2-0 down with just 10 minutes left in normal time.
“We didn’t give up. We needed a winner and it was decided on penalties. That’s always cruel. We are empty.”
Lloris was beaten by all four Argentine penalties in the shootout, including one from Lionel Messi who had already scored twice in the game.
“We could have let it slip at 2-0 but we continued to believe that we could turn the game around,” added Lloris.
“We must congratulate Argentina who played a great tournament and a great final.”
Lloris refused to be drawn on his international future after playing at his fourth World Cup.
“I need, like everyone, to take a step back, to gain perspective on things,” he said.
“We’ll see in a few weeks. We’re leaving a tournament like this one drained and even more so after what happened tonight.
“We don’t have much strength left, we just want to be back with our families.”