Ken Early: Documentary shatters the myth of Les Bleus

Racial unity symbolised by France’s World Cup winners did not survive in post-9/11 world

Lilian Thuram holds up the Euro 2000 trophy two years after  he and his team-mates won the  World Cup for France, a victory that was portrayed in the media as white, black and brown Frenchmen coming together to conquer the world. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

Lilian Thuram holds up the Euro 2000 trophy two years after he and his team-mates won the World Cup for France, a victory that was portrayed in the media as white, black and brown Frenchmen coming together to conquer the world. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

It’s typical of France’s attitude to sport that a recent documentary looking at 20 years of the French national team contains almost nothing about football. Instead, Les Bleus: Une Autre Histoire de France (The Blues: Another Story of France) reminds us that no other football team has served so much time as a political football.

France is not really a football country, and in 1998 most French people were a little like their old fraud of a president, Jacques Chirac, cheering on the team while not knowing any of their names.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.