- Associated Press - Saturday, June 18, 2016

LILLE, France (AP) - France captain Hugo Lloris is demanding a much improved performance against Switzerland on Sunday, so the hosts can finally live up to their billing as one of the European Championship favorites.

The pressure appeared to get to France in its first two games. Despite beating Romania 2-1 and Albania 2-0, Les Bleus looked fragile in both matches and wasted chances before winning with very late goals.

Although France is already through to the knockout stages and only needs a draw to guarantee top spot in Group A, Lloris is keen to keep the pressure on.

“We have a status to defend and it’s important to do that. We’re the group favorite and we have to live up to expectations,” he said. “We’ll try to play more convincingly than we did in the first two games, where we were a bit lacking.”

Lloris will captain France for the 54th time - equaling the national team record held by his coach, Didier Deschamps, who led France to glory at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.



“I’m not really thinking about it,” Lloris said. “Obviously it’s pleasing, but I can’t compare myself to the coach, who remains a benchmark.”

The 29-year-old Lloris is never going to be a fist-pumping, inspirational vocal leader on the pitch like Deschamps.

But the consistent Tottenham keeper is a far more authoritative captain than he was at Euro 2012 and at the World Cup two years ago, when he was renowned for his soft-spoken, almost withdrawn attitude.

At this tournament, he has been more outspoken, backing his coach up in saying that more is expected from Paul Pogba after a disappointing performance by the midfielder against Romania.

The weight of expectation also seemed to affect forward Antoine Griezmann and - like Pogba - he was dropped against Albania.

Both added urgency when they came on in the second half of that game, with Griezmann heading home in the 90th minute to put France 1-0 up in a tension-filled finale.

“It’s normal that there are expectations because they both had great seasons,” Lloris said. “Antoine reached the Champions League final with Atletico Madrid, and he made the difference when he came on against Albania.”

Griezmann and Pogba are likely to start against Switzerland, and Deschamps hinted that he could freshen up his side.

“I could make changes,” Deschamps said “I will make choices like I did in the first two games. There are several factors that come into it. “

Fatigue may be one.

Andre-Pierre Gignac could start at center forward if Deschamps decides to rest Olivier Giroud - who looked weary against Albania - while Deschamps may give defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante a breather and pick Yohan Cabaye.

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