The friendly Belgium Vs Spain supposed to be held at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, had to be cancelled, due to red alert after the Paris attacks. Therefore it was a pleasant surprise to see England and France fans unite in London and making Wembley Stadium tremble with ‘La Marseillaise‘ being sung by both sides.
Words: Ludovica D’Angio, Subeditor: Ena Bilobrk
Following the tragedy, the officials decide to let the match happen, even after it stood under red alert. French manager Didier Deschamps had offered his players to withdraw from the game, after many still suffered from a trauma that covers every Parisians soul.
Running out on Wembley was a brave gesture, especially for Marseille midfielder Lassana Diarra, who lost his cousin during the raid in Bataclan theatre. Diarra wrote a moving post on his Twitter page saying “I have been personally affected by these attacks my cousin was amongst the victims”, adding “she was a great support, a big sister”.
— Lass Diarra (@Lass_Officiel) 14. November 2015
Deschamps called his players up to be courageous and stated: “We are here to represent our country and its colours blue, white and red with even more pride than we normally would”.
Reports that the whole Wembley Stadium sang the French national anthem ‘La Marseillaise’ were no exaggeration. A French journalist on BBC Radio 5 Live admitted that he “thinks it’s extremely special for the whole stadium to sing the french anthem.”
On the stands and on the field are not representatives of two different nations, but representatives of peace, courage and support, something much bigger than football.
England manager Roy Hodgson expressed his emotions saying: “All we can do is make certain we play the best game possible. But whatever way we look at it, there is something hanging over this game that is far, far greater than a football result, a football match.”
The only thing marking the tensed situation were detailed security checks at the stadium’s entrance. Passing that, the crowd was able to escape the pictures of patrolling police with Kalashnikovs and enjoyed 90 minutes of an almost normal football match.
Although the result was disappointing for France fans, with Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney netting for England, most of the French still walked off happily thanking England and the rest of the world for the support.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) 18. November 2015
Wembley Stadium still lights up in ‘tricolor’ every evening, paying tribute to the victims.
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) 17. November 2015