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France's Lucas Hernandez: I exaggerated vs. Australia to waste time

Frank Leboeuf joins the ESPN FC crew to talk about France's underwhelming display and what must be done to play to their potential.
ESPN FC's Janusz Michallik feels France's midfield lacks a true leader which could be detrimental to their World Cup hopes.

France left-back Lucas Hernandez admitted he employed some theatrics during the 2-1 World Cup win over Australia on Saturday.

After an own goal from Aziz Behich gave France the lead in the 80th minute, Hernandez said he occasionally went to ground to eat up time.

"As we saw against Australia, there are moments where I exaggerate a bit," Hernandez said at a news conference on Sunday. "It is part of the show, part of the game, [and] I am used to doing it.

"It helps the team to buy some time. I do it from time to time. It is a part of me."

Hernandez said he has been encouraged to use his fiery temper on the pitch by Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone.

"I have always been like this," Hernandez said. "I learned over 11 years with Atletico and I am still trying to improve.

"I have already been working with it alongside Diego for four years. It is a strong point of mine. It is up to me to keep it going and not let up in each match."

France's Lucas Hernandez is checked on by teammates Hugo Lloris and Samuel Umtiti.
France's Lucas Hernandez goes to the ground during the World Cup game against Australia.

The defender, unashamed of his attitude, relishes physical encounters during matches.

"Honestly, I always prepare in the same way," Hernandez said. "I am a quiet player. When I take to the pitch, I know what my objective is -- get involved, tackle and be physical.

"I am a very aggressive player, regardless of whether it is a World Cup match or a friendly. It is my state of mind. I am ready from the first minute."

And when asked about his competition with Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy for a place in the starting XI, Hernandez said he wants to show coach Didier Deschamps that he is reliable.

"As I always say, I do my job," he said. "The most important thing is that the coach is able to count on me. I try to give everything."

Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.

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