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Maignan grabs the spotlight after emerging from Lloris's shadow

HAMBURG, Germany : Stepping out of the shadow of France’s most capped international would not have been easy, but goalkeeper Mike Maignan has emerged as one of his country’s leading performers at the European Championship in Germany.

For more than a decade Hugo Lloris kept goal for France, playing more matches at a major tournament than any other Frenchman and going on to become the country’s most capped footballer.

For some of that time, Maignan deputised in the French side, including at the last Euros, but with Lloris's retirement from international football, the 28-year-old’s opportunity has finally arrived and he has seized it.

Clean sheets in France’s opening two matches at Euro 2024 made for an impressive start. Maignan did concede in the third, against Poland last Tuesday, but only from the penalty spot after saving Robert Lewandowski's first effort but being ruled to have moved too quickly off his line.

There were key saves along the way, at crucial junctures of the group games, to contribute to France’s progress into the last 16, where they face Belgium on Monday.

Particularly impressive was his swiftly coming off his line to stymie Christoph Baumgartner against Austria, allowing Les Bleus to go up the other end to score the game’s only goal two minutes later.


His decisive dive in the first minute against the Netherlands stopped an effort from Jeremie Frimpong and ensured the French did not have to chase the game.

“He is strong, he feels strong, he is a leader for the defence; we will need him (to stay performing) at that level,” said coach Didier Deschamps.

“He brings leadership above and beyond his qualities on the field. He has a lot of charisma and is a natural leader. When he speaks, everyone