Lilian Thuram on son Marcus's bid for Euro 2020 glory to match his own with France
The knotted stomach that forms within Lillian Thuram when he considers the current France side’s bid to replicate what the national team of his vintage achieved between 1998 and 2000 is hardly to be wondered at.
Not when the anti-racism and equalities campaigner’s son Marcus Thuram is a member of Didier Deschamp’s 26-man squad in the tilt to add the Euro 2020 to their 2018 World Cup success – aping the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 that pater Thuram was key to the country snaring. The 23-year-old Borussia Moenchengladbach attacker is one of two sons that have followed in the footsteps of the 49-year-old, with 20-year-old Khephren Thuram a midielder at Nice. Their dad’s desire to promote black consciousness is reflected in the pair’s names – Marcus named after black Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey, while Khephren was the black pharaoh believed to be the inspiration for the features on the Great Sphinx of Giza, as well as the second pyramid on the Cairo site, there have been attempts to whitewash down the ages.
The Serie A winner with Juventus is sure Marcus can join him in boasting a Euros success from his career with the tournament favourites, but watching either son never proves easy for him. “Dads are always nervous watching their kids kicking a ball, or indeed anything in life,” he said. “You want them to do well, do the thing, they love, but you are always nervous for them. I think France can do it, but it is always difficult because these competitions come down to fine details. I see one of the difficulties this time is the decentralised nature of the tournament. France have no home games but they will play Germany in Munich and Hungary in Budapest in their group. They have the quality to do it, but it’s going to be tough.
“It is great to have [Karim] Benzema back [after five years], you always want the best players in you team and he is one of top centre-forward in the world, and so intelligent. In my experience as footballer, though, it is always the team with the best defence that wins. And I don’t say that because I was a centre-back, as by defence I mean the wholly defensive structure of the team, how you transition.”
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