Tens of thousands of fans converged on London's Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night for an emotional international friendly match between old rivals, the English and French national teams.
English fans draped themselves in the French Tricolore and belted out "La Marseillaise" ahead of the match in a stirring show of support for the French, who had their own vocal contingent at Wembley for the match.
A photo posted by Rob Davies (@rdavies7) on Nov 17, 2015 at 11:31am PST
The scene inside the stadium was as colorful as it had been outside as English fans waved the national flag of France alongside their rivals.
A fan holds a scarf aloft before the match between England and France.
Fantastic shot of @Wembley pre-kickoff by @henrywinter. #ENGvFRA. May this be a moment we can all be proud of. pic.twitter.com/VKHZSKjYL8
Both teams wore black bands on their arms for the match, particularly poignant for French midfielder Lassana Diarra, whose cousin was among those killed in Friday's attack.
Another French player, Antoine Griezmann, had a sister who escaped the carnage at the Le Bataclan music venue.
Prince William, who is president of the Football Association, was among a trio, including both teams' coaches, who presented wreaths before the match in honor of the victims of the deadly attacks.
Prince William laying wreaths for the victims of the Paris attacks. pic.twitter.com/814KMONfLG
In a stirring display of unity, when the time came during the pregame festivities to play the national anthems, the stadium in its entirety was asked to join in to sing "La Marseillaise."
A powerful performance of 'La Marseillaise' before the #EngvFra game pic.twitter.com/svUJd1gDRd
As the prematch remembrances came to an end, the teams embraced to raucous applause and cheers from the fans in attendance. And, in the moments before kickoff, the players and referees gathered around the circle at midfield and took part in one minute of silence to honor the victims of the attacks.
Armed police at Wembley for #EngvFra. (Not a common sight in England.)They said they're hoping for a quiet night. pic.twitter.com/l2AKgO28oQ
As for the match itself, England won 2-0 behind goals from Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney. But on this Tuesday night at Wembley, the actual result between two soccer rivals was the last thing that actually mattered. The match's true stakes were shown to powerful effect when hundreds of fans in the stands waved French flags in unison immediately after the final whistle.
There was plenty of reason for the post-match hugs among players and coaches.
And French players cheered the attending throngs as the flags continued waving in all corners of the stadium.
The match comes just days after the deadly terror attacks in Paris, which included a series of suicide bombers detonating themselves outside the Stade de France during a match between France and Germany.
The match also featured heightened security measures in light of the Paris attacks. At least two other international friendly matches between European countries scheduled for Tuesday were canceled due to security concerns, but England and France played on.
LONDON - England and France's 92-year-old football rivalry will witness its most solemn chapter at Wembley on Tuesday when the teams unite in solidarity four days after the Paris terror attacks.
Friday's attacks touched football particularly closely, with three suicide bombers blowing themselves up outside the Stade de France as France played Germany.
The cousin of France midfielder Lassana Diarra was one of the 129 people killed, while the sister of his team-mate Antoine Griezmann escaped unhurt from the assault on the Bataclan concert hall.
But the French Football Federation (FFF) insisted that Tuesday's game should go ahead and it is now being seen as an opportunity to put on a united front, with a social media campaign urging England's fans to join in with the French national anthem, 'La Marseillaise', before kick-off.
"The match will be a serious occasion, but one that shows that the football world is united against these atrocities," said England manager Roy Hodgson.
"I'm sure the England team and our fans will play their part and show solidarity with our French friends on Tuesday evening and provide support for both teams during this difficult time."
England's Football Association is expecting a crowd of over 70,000 for the game, including 1,400 travelling supporters.
Fans attending the match can expect a visible security presence outside the stadium and have been urged to arrive early as security checks are expected to take longer than usual.
There were several shows of solidarity in London over the weekend, including a Trafalgar Square vigil, while the Tricolore flag was projected onto famous landmarks including Tower Bridge and the National Gallery.
The giant arch above Wembley was lit up red, white and blue in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and the display will remain in place on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, players from both teams will sport black armbands and there will be a minute's silence before the game.
In an effort to assist fans who wish to join in with 'La Marseillaise', the FA will broadcast the words to the 220-year-old battle hymn on the stadium's display screens while it is playing.
France's squad, coaching staff and officials are due to arrive in London on Monday morning, with coach Didier Deschamps set to address the media for the first time since the attacks later in the day.
Some of his players were reportedly reluctant to play so soon after Friday's harrowing events, but all 23 will make the trip to the English capital.
"I didn't ask them the question," FFF president Noel Le Graet told RTL. "They're playing!"
The match will be particularly difficult for Marseille midfielder Diarra, who recently returned to international action after a five-year absence.
Confirming the death of his cousin, Asta Diakite, Diarra wrote on Twitter: "In this climate of terror, it is important for all of us who are representatives of our country and its diversity to speak out and remain united against a horror that has neither colour nor religion."
While the explosions outside the Stade de France -- which came after the suicide bombers had failed to gain access to the stadium -- could clearly be heard by those inside, it was not until after the game that the players were made aware of what had happened there and elsewhere in the city.
Led by captain Wayne Rooney, they are believed to be planning a tribute for Tuesday's game.
From a sporting perspective, France are seeking to record a sixth successive win, following their impressive 2-0 defeat of world champions Germany, while England are hoping to return to winning ways after their 15-game unbeaten run was ended by Spain.
Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard, 22, could make his senior England debut after being drafted into the squad following the withdrawals of Michael Carrick and Jamie Vardy.
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Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney score in win over World Cup hosts at Wembley Stadium.
LONDON—Luiz Felipe Scolari and Ronaldinho endured disappointing returns to international football as Brazil lost 2-1 to England, while Spain, Germany and Argentina all won high-profile friendlies on Wednesday to justify their position as the world's top three teams.
World Cup and European soccer champion Spain stretched its unbeaten run to 17 games by beating Uruguay 3-1 in Doha, Germany came from behind to beat France 2-1 away and Lionel Messi failed to score but played a key role in Argentina's 3-2 win over Sweden.
Scolari, who led Brazil to its fifth and most recent world title in 2002, took charge of his first game in his second spell as coach and handed Ronaldinho a recall to the team for his 100th cap.
The former Barcelona playmaker, who hadn't played for Brazil for a year, had an early penalty saved at Wembley Stadium before Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard scored goals to help England end a 23-year winless record against the Brazilians.
“I'm used to losing the first game but after this I'm used to winning games and winning competitions,” Scolari said. “I'm not disappointed and I'm not sad.”
Also, Marco Verratti scored a stoppage-time equalizer for Italy in a 1-1 draw at the Netherlands and Cristiano Ronaldo scored in a losing cause for Portugal, which was beaten 3-2 at home to Ecuador.
Spain and France were looking for confidence-boosting results ahead of their meeting in a crucial World Cup qualifier next month — and it was the top-ranked Spanish who will be more satisfied as international football returned to the schedule for the first time in 2013 with some glamorous matchups.
Pedro Rodriguez took his tally to nine goals in his last six internationals by scoring twice in the second half after Cesc Fabregas' 16th-minute opener was cancelled out by Cristian Rodriguez in the 32nd.
“Uruguay defended well and was dangerous in counterattacks but we played a good game,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said. “Pedro made the difference for us in the second half.”
Spain was captained by Carles Puyol on the defender's 100th national-team appearance.
Germany hadn't beaten France in their last five meetings and needed a second-half turnaround to end that poor run.
Diminutive winger Mathieu Valbuena headed in from close range just before halftime for France, but Thomas Mueller equalized in the 51st and Sami Khedira scored the winner 16 minutes from time for second-ranked Germany's first win over the French in 26 years — when it was still West Germany.
“It was our first big test of 2013, we played with a lot of rhythm and showed some of the good things that were missing last year,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said.
Sweden's home match with Argentina was being dubbed as a head-to-head between strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi, who spent a year together at Barcelona before Ibrahimovic left for AC Milan in 2010 after losing his place as centre forward to Messi.
Neither scored at the Friends Arena but Messi — the four-time world player of the year — had a bigger impact and even had a close encounter with a pitch invader, who ran onto the pitch, embraced the forward and kissed him on the forehead.
Mikael Lustig turned Gonzalo Higuain's shot for Argentina's opening goal before Sergio Aguero and Higuain added further goals after Jonas Olsson had equalized.
Ibrahimovic was substituted at halftime with his team 3-1 down and Rasmus Elm's free kick in injury time came too late for the hosts.
England grew in belief after goalkeeper Joe Hart saved Ronaldinho's penalty in the 19th and Rooney scored seven minutes later, sweeping in the loose ball after Theo Walcott's shot was saved.
Fred equalized in the 48th after a defensive mistake but substitute Lampard clinched victory for England over the 2014 World Cup hosts by curling in a shot from the edge of the area that went in off the post.
“We've got to get to Brazil, but if we continue with that attitude and get a bit more flow to our game we should be all right,” said Lampard, whose Chelsea teammate Ashley Cole also made his 100th international appearance.
Brazil is down in 18th place in the FIFA rankings, partly because of a lack of competitive games as it qualifies automatically for the World Cup, and is looking for Scolari to restore the team's fortunes after coming in as a replacement for Mano Menezes last year.
“We aren't in the best physical shape yet but we will work on it,” Scolari said.
The Netherlands looked like condemning Italy to a sixth straight friendly loss when Jeremain Lens put them in front in the 33rd, only for Verratti to come off the bench and score a last-gasp equalizer.
“Everyone lost the plot at the end, we gave it away,” Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal said.
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There’s no such thing as an England Vs. Germany friendly! These two giants of the soccer world share an intense rivalry that’ll mean this game is played with a competitive rivalry. Watch the two lock horns in the Olympiastadion in Berlin on Mar. 26 at 3.45 p.m. EST.
England travels to the Olympiastadion in Berlin on Mar. 26 to take on their fierce nemesis Germany in a soccer friendly, but don’t expect this to be a walk in the park. The tackles will come in thick and fast, and neither team will want to lose this one. Click down to find the live stream!
Both teams have a busy few months of friendly exhibition matches scheduled, so there will be opportunities for new caps for untried and untested players before both teams go to France for the European Championships that begin in June.
But that doesn’t mean that the star players will be rested. Germany will have Thomas Müller spearheading their attack, and he’s a constant menace inside and outside the box. England have their talisman, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane who will be looking to cement his first team place.
His Spurs teammate Danny Rose is set to earn his first cap for England, while Dele Alli will be hoping to transfer his club form with the north London Premier League favorites to international soccer. Actually, Spurs could have 4 players in the England line-up, which is a testament to how well they are performing, if Eric Dier also plays.
Seeing that both teams will be experimenting with new line-ups, the likes of Germany’s Mesut Ozil and Karim Bellarabi will probably sit this one out. England has doubts over Arsenal’s Theo Walcott and Manchester City’s Joe Hart.
The last time these two teams met was two years ago, when a Per Mertesacker goal won the day for Germany at Wembley stadium in a 1-0 win.
HollywoodLifers, who is your pick for this one? England or Germany? Tell us your predictions below!
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