France had the world watching them when they came to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar to defend the world title they won four years ago in Russia. On the other hand, their campaign did not look promising when a long list of injured players, including Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kanté, Christopher Nkunku, etc. could not play for the then defending world champion Les Bleus in the first ever Middle-East State and winter World Cup.
To add insult to injury, this short-handed French team which miraculously overcame many tough opponents, including England, Poland and Morocco, was slapped with illnesses that was spread across the team, with head coach Didier Deschamps claiming that half of his starting line-up against the eventual champion Argentina were unfit for the finale. The wounded Les Bleus ultimately lost the final on penalties.
Lloris Holds the Record for Most Appearances for France
France’s skipper Hugo Lloris almost created history in Qatar: By becoming the first and only captain to lead his country to win back-to-back FIFA World Cups. Nonetheless, he can be proud with his performance being the long-time shot stopper for his country over 14 years of service. The 36-year-old player from Nice, who is also the captain of Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, made his international debut back in 2008 and had matched former defender Lilian Thuram for the most appearances for France during the Round of 16 match against Poland in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and went on to win another three caps for his country against England in the quarterfinal, Morocco in the semifinal as well as Argentina in the final, giving him a total of 145 caps.
With so many accolades, both personal and team, collected under his belt, especially in the international stage, the goalkeeper for Les Bleus had announced his retirement for France earlier this year.
First Captained France in 2010
The former Nice and Lyon shot stopper skippered Les Bleus for the first time more than 12 years ago, and soon became an untouchable figure in the starting line-up for France in all tournaments. He captained the side to several team honours during his 14-year international career, namely winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia (Beating Croatia) and UEFA Nations League in the 2020/2021 Season (Beating Spain), as well as two runner-up finishes, one in the 2016 UEFA European Championship (Losing to Portugal) and another in the 2022 FIFA World Cup (Losing to Argentina).
An Agile and Smart Goalkeeper
The 36-year-old Nice-born star is known for his exceptionally agile style of play as well as no-nonsense decision-making wisdom on field. Hence, losing him at international level would be a huge loss, especially for a team that desperately needs experience and veterans like France. In an interview to confirm about his retirement, Lloris said that: “I’d rather go out at the top than wait for a decline or [face] too much competition. There is also a family choice; I feel the need to spend more time with my wife and children.”
Meanwhile, France’s manager Didier Deschamps, who extended his contract with the national side until June 2026, applauded his long-time first-choice goalkeeper for France, stating that he is “A great servant of the French team is taking his leave and I would like to pay tribute to his exceptional career.”
We relive the best moment of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar here.