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 By Reuters

France must go 'beyond their capacity' after slow World Cup start - Hugo Lloris

France's players must overcome the pressure they felt in the opening match against Australia and go "beyond their capacity" if they are to ensure progress to the last 16 of the World Cup, skipper Hugo Lloris said on Wednesday.

France were made to work hard by a determined Australia in their Group C opener on Saturday before sealing a 2-1 win with the help an Antoine Griezmann penalty and an own goal by Aziz Behich which deflected off a strike by midfielder Paul Pogba.

"There is always pressure in all matches in the World Cup. This is when you must go beyond your capacity as a competitor," Lloris told a news conference ahead of Thursday's match against Peru at the Ekaterinburg Arena.

France have one of the youngest teams at the World Cup, with 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe and 21-year-old Ousmane Dembele among those tasked with leading the attack.

"I have played in a World Cup before so the pressure is felt differently for me, but there is pressure and we are hoping to find a better way of playing," Lloris said. "If we don't raise our way of playing, we will have difficulties."

The goalkeeper said the South Americans were unlucky in their 1-0 defeat by Denmark in their opening game.

"They did deserve better against Denmark. They are a tough team to beat. Their players are committed... there'll be plenty of aggression and intensity," Lloris added. "We have to win this match to give us confidence and help us go forward in the competition."

France boss Didier Deschamps also confirmed that Griezmann would be available for the match against Peru as his team seek a sharper attacking edge.

"What we can see is that there were elements that were lacking and we did have difficulties at the front. That is very clear, and I did say so at the end of the match," Deschamps told reporters. "The aim here is to make sure we do better tomorrow."

Deschamps said Griezmann, who opened the scoring with a penalty against Australia, was fully fit.

"He's well. There was a little concern with one of his ankles, which was a little bit swollen after the match. He wasn't at this best during the match, he had heavy legs," said the coach.

Dynamic midfielder N'Golo Kante also struggled in the first game: "This meant we weren't able to have enough dynamism in attack, and not enough efficiency."

Deschamps did not rule out starting with Olivier Giroud, even if his comments on the striker were ambivalent.

"The problem with Olivier is very often when he plays, he plays in his own register, he's not in the same register as the others. But when he's not there, we realise how useful he is," Deschamps said.

The 49-year-old, a member of France's 1998 World Cup winning team, said Peru should not be underestimated.

"They have excellent players up front, they have some very fast players," he said, singling out Paolo Guerrero and Jefferson Farfan. 

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