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France defender Lilian Thuram fears Romania's threat at Euro 2008

France defender Lilian Thuram fears Romania's threat at Euro 2008

Veteran France defender Lilian Thuram is wary of Romania's threat ahead of their European Championship match.
Although France later faces Euro 1988 winner Netherlands and four-time World Cup winner Italy in Group C, Thuram points to results in qualifying to underline why Romania could be more than an outsider on Monday.
"Perhaps Romania is the team to fear," Thuram said Sunday, on the eve of the match in Zurich. "Romania is a very good team. They drew with the Netherlands, and also beat them. Romania is a great team that has had great results."
Victor Piturca's Romania drew 0-0 away to the Netherlands and beat coach Marco Van Basten's team 1-0 at home to top their qualifying group ahead of the Dutch.
"I honestly don't think France is stronger than the other teams," said Thuram, who could win his 141st cap on Monday. "Every match has its own truth and you have to work as hard as possible to be ready."
Should Thuram play, it will be almost exactly 12 years since he faced Romania at the European Championship on June 10, 1996.
That was his first major tournament, and this is now Thuram's seventh straight _ and he's seen it all.
There have been highs _ the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 wins _ and lows with elimination from the first round of the 2002 World Cup and an upset loss to Greece in the quarterfinals at Euro 2004.
That has shaped Thuram's thinking, so he knows just how costly it could be to underestimate Piturca's team.
"Fear of losing is always a good thing," the 36-year-old Thuram said. "The ideal preparation is to have some doubts, because you always want to do things properly because of this doubt."
Thuram played the past six big tournaments alongside Zinedine Zidane. Since the mercurial playmaker retired after the World Cup final loss to Italy two years ago, France has been looking for a talisman on the field.
Expectations are high that winger Franck Ribery is the man to fill Zidane's boots.
"We've played without Zidane for the past two years," Thuram said. "I hope that Ribery can have a great Euro, for himself and for the French team."
Thuram's long career has seen him face some of the world's best forwards: from Brazil's Ronaldo in 1998, to Italy's Alessandro Del Piero in 2000, and Italy's Luca Toni in 2006.
If selected by coach Raymond Domenech, he would relish testing himself against Romania's Adrian Mutu, who was his teammate at Juventus in the 2005-2006 season, and scored 17 league goals for Fiorentina last season.
"I had the chance to play alongside him at Juventus," Thuram said. "He's proved that he is one of Europe's best players. Not just with Fiorentina, but with Verona before that. I know just how dangerous he can be."


Updated : 2021-04-15 04:12 GMT+08:00