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Nov, 17, 2009

Coupet hails "phenomenal" Lloris

Gregory Coupet has hailed his successor as France number one, Hugo Lloris, a "phenomenon'' after the Lyon goalkeeper's clean sheet against the Republic of Ireland put Les Bleus on the brink of the World Cup finals.

Nicolas Anelka's deflected second-half shot secured the French a 1-0 win in a closely-fought first leg in Dublin on Saturday night to leave Raymond Domenech's side firm favourites to advance to South Africa.

And Coupet acknowledges his side must also be grateful to the man between the posts for his contribution at Croke Park.

"Lloris is a phenomenon,'' the 36-year-old told French radio station RMC ahead of tomorrow night's second leg in Paris.

"Lyon owes him a lot already for their third place last season. Due to his strengths and what he has done this weekend (against Ireland), the choice is made on Hugo Lloris .

"He is playing well at the moment and there is no reason to change. At one point, it is important to elect a number one.''

Meanwhile, Noel Le Graet, vice-president of the French football federation, insists failure to qualify for South Africa would have no financial impact on the body.

"It changes nothing,'' he told Le Parisien. "All existing contracts with our sponsors or partners are signed up to June 2010.''

Regarding the extension of the contracts, Le Graet is also optimistic.

"The partners who trust us pledge for 2010 to 2014, not Wednesday night,'' he added. "This may sound strange, but we do not negotiate the same things. For 2010 to 2014, participation at Euro 2012 and World Cup 2014 has already been bought by TF1. This is not really linked to France-Ireland.''

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