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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 13 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 11, 2006

Thuram still undecided over France future

France's most capped player Lilian Thuram believes Les Bleus have a glorious future - but has not yet decided whether he will be part of it.

On Sunday, Thuram was one of six French players who played in their second World Cup final - but unlike the 3-0 win over Brazil in 1998 they fell at the final hurdle in Germany, losing 5-3 on penalties to Italy after the match finished 1-1.

Thuram, like Zinedine Zidane and Claude Makelele, quit the national team after Euro 2004 only to return a year later but, while Zidane has now retired altogether and Makelele will now play only for Chelsea, the defender has not yet decided whether the 121st cap he won will be his last.

'My time with the France team finished badly first time round but then I reconciled with it,' said Thuram on the French Football Federation website.

'We had a solid squad who wanted to build things together. That's the most important thing and I hope they manage to keep this team spirit because this is the only way we can succeed.

'I am confident the young players will continue in this tradition.'

Asked if he had played his last game for France, the Guadeloupe-born 34-year-old said: 'I don't know. It's not the right time to say.'

Thuram believes Les Bleus should look back in pride at their success in Germany even though they did not lift the trophy.

'France played very well even if ultimately we got nothing,' said Thuram, whose only two goals in his 121 appearances came in the 2-1 semi-final win over Croatia in 1998.

'We played well and we were in control but we could not make our superiority count. We saw the Italians were putting all their hopes in penalties.

'We did not climb the last step but we can be proud of our run and the good values we have projected. The team gave a good image of French football. In the end it all came down to a penalty. That's unbelievable.

'In the dressing room I was thinking `People always say the best team wins' but Italy were not better than us but they are world champions.'

Referring to knockout stage wins over Spain, Brazil and Portugal, he said: 'We played some very good teams and always adapted well but all that people will remember is that Italy won the World Cup.'