Paris attacks: England and France pay tribute at Wembley

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Wembley Stadium
French fans

England and France paid tribute to the 129 people killed in Friday's attacks in Paris at an international friendly at Wembley on Tuesday.

A crowd of more than 70,000 sang La Marseillaise - the French national anthem - with the Duke of Cambridge and Prime Minister David Cameron present.

France's game with Germany at the Stade de France was targeted in the attacks.

But France chose to go ahead with Tuesday's game, which ended 2-0 to England, amid heightened security.

Before kick-off, flowers were laid at the side of the pitch by Prince William and the opposing managers, England's Roy Hodgson and Didier Deschamps of France.

The Football Association (FA) had encouraged England supporters to learn the words to La Marseillaise in a show of solidarity and Wembley's arch was lit up in the blue, white and red of the French flag.

Applause greeted the end of the anthems before a minute's silence was impeccably observed, with one side of the London stadium creating a Tricolor mosaic with coloured cards.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls
France Prime Minister Manuel Valls tweeted: "The Marseillaise at Wembley. Two peoples in unison. Immense emotion. Liberty. Equality. Brotherhood."

Goals from Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney won the game.

As the final seconds were played out, France's fans delivered a final rendition of La Marseillaise, which drew loud applause from England supporters.

A Belgian citizen has been identified as the mastermind of Friday's deadly attacks, and Belgium's friendly with Spain on Tuesday in Brussels was called off because of security fears.

Meanwhile, Germany's match against the Netherlands in Hannover was cancelled about an hour before kick-off. The stadium was evacuated and supporters sent home because of a "concrete security threat" and "plans for an explosion", according to police.

French security sources say that surveillance video shows a possible ninth assailant during the attacks - which have been claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.

French Football Federation president Noel le Graet turned down the FA's offer to cancel the match and FA chief executive Martin Glenn said the game would have "massive global significance".

BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent Richard Conway at Wembley
"It was a spine-tingling moment as fans within Wembley rose as one to sing La Marseillaise.
"Some of the French players were close to being overwhelmed with emotion.
"Following such devastation and grief, there was a poignant - and beautifully observed - minute's silence as football reflected, remembered and ultimately stood defiant against terrorism."

Extra officers were on duty for the game, including armed police.

Prince William, president of the FA, decided to attend the match after Friday's attacks. London mayor Boris Johnson was also at Wembley.

After the match, Hodgson said: "It was a very poignant occasion. It was really everything I expected it to be."

England boss Roy Hodgson reflects on 'poignant' night

His France counterpart Deschamps said they "felt grateful" for the "very heartfelt, special, moving, grandiose moment", adding: "We have had a moment of communal grief and this has been good for us."

He said: "There was a sporting meaning and a sporting dimension, but on a human level the match had far greater importance. We had desire and will but all things considered the human aspect was maybe more important tonight."

England captain Rooney said: "It was always going to be a difficult night for everyone, especially the French players and staff.

"For ourselves to be involved in this occasion was tough, the young players were excited but it was a difficult game for them. I thought both teams handled it extremely well. The fans were brilliant.

"Football is a global game and, as Didier Deschamps said yesterday, it is not about religion or race. We need to stand tall together in these tough times."

Didier Deschamps and Prince William
Didier Deschamps, Roy Hodgson and Prince William laid wreaths before the game

France and Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said: "First of all we want to thank all the England people in the stadium for their respect.

"The performance was not there for us and we had a lack of aggressiveness and concentration. It was more about solidarity. Life is still going on so we need to carry on."

Marseille midfielder Lassana Diarra - whose cousin was killed during the attacks - came on as a substitute to a standing ovation.

He was joined from the bench by Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, whose sister was in the Bataclan theatre where 89 people died, but escaped.

BBC News' Finlo Rohrer at Wembley
"England fans in the home end held up coloured cards to form a human flag of the Tricolor. Most joined in La Marseillaise, stumbling over the words but singing loudly.
"Occasional bursts of anti-Isis chanting could repeatedly be heard after and before the national anthems."
England fans with a mural and the words of the French anthem
England fans displayed a mural of the French flag, while the words of the national anthem were displayed on the screen
French flag during minute's silence
Players lined up around the centre circle for a minute's silence before kick-off
Fan crying into French flag
Some fans were visibly emotional
Fans with banner
Fans held banners before the game began
An armed police officer outside Wembley
Wembley saw an increased police presence on Tuesday
More on this story
Germany v Netherlands called off after bomb threat
Belgium v Spain cancelled over security concerns
In pictures: England v France
Lassana Diarra's cousin killed in Paris attacks

'You have to keep living your life'

Plenty of supporters made their way to Wembley early, waving both the French and English flags outside the ground.

One French fan, who was at the Stade de France on Friday, told BBC News: "Everyone's a bit afraid of leaving the house now, but you have to keep living your life and lots of people are in shock.

"There should have been nine of us here tonight but four chose not to come because their wives and families had persuaded them to stay at home."

An England supporter said: "We shouldn't change anything, we should be here because of the football and that's why we are here, and obviously to show a bit of solidarity with the French."

Fans arrive early at Wembley Stadium before the friendly game
Fans arrived early at Wembley Stadium for the friendly

'United we stand' - social media reaction

The hashtag #engvfra was trending from 17:30 GMT on Twitter in the UK, with the match also being discussed around the world in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

Daniel Woodley:external-link "Those scenes at Wembley even brought tears to my eyes. Amazing how football can join together in times like this."

Sam Jenkins:external-link "Football, so often a great divider. Not tonight. Quite spectacular to see and hear La Marseillaise ringing around Wembley."

Mark:external-link "The football at Wembley tonight is what sport is all about. Bringing enjoyment to those in dark times. Uniting nations. If you wonder whether we will be beaten by terrorism, look at the 10,000 extra people who bought football tickets tonight. That's your answer."

Paul Thompson:external-link "Proud to be English tonight and supporting the French in what must be an awful time. Sport really does bring people together."

FA tweets
The England and France football accounts tweeted similar messages, with graphics in each other's language
Gary Lineker
Former England captain and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker was impressed by the pre-match presentations
Samir Nasri tweet
Manchester City's France midfielder Samir Nasri also tweeted: "Not talking football, let's appreciate the respect the English have shown".
The French Government
The French Government's official Twitter account showed its appreciation
Gareth Bale
Real Madrid and Wales footballer Gareth Bale was impressed
British Prime Minister David Cameron was at Wembley
British Prime Minister David Cameron was at Wembley
Jeremy Corbyn
So too was Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

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