France Takes to the Soccer Pitch in 'Act of Defiance' Following Paris Massacre
Playing in front of Prince William and British Prime Minister David Cameron, France took to the pitch at London’s iconic Wembley Stadium in an act of defiance four days after the attack on Paris.
Inside the stadium, which was lit in red, white and blue, 70,000 fans looked on as well as the French national team represented their country – the alive, the grieving and the fallen.
The French motto, "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite" was projected onto the front of Wembley.
Great to be at Wembley tonight. Small gesture in face of great tragedy but proud of FA response to Paris attacks pic.twitter.com/xSzBtgN6qT— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) November 17, 2015
Wembley Stadium is lit up in French colors ahead of tonight's England-France soccer friendly. pic.twitter.com/dMr5NGW5lT— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 17, 2015
The floral tribute of the blue, white and red ahead of England v France pic.twitter.com/bS2BLDCcV7— Ian Dennis (@Iandennisbbc) November 17, 2015
Fans wore shirts bearing the peace sign containing the Eiffel Tower, which has become the symbol of solidarity following the tragedy.
As the players walked out of the tunnel, French flags proudly waved even in a stadium filled predominantly with Brits. Thunderous applause and cheers filled the mammoth venue as the French national anthem “La Marseillaise” played.
Each player wore a black arm band to honor the victims of Friday’s atrocity.
Prince William, along with England coach Roy Hodgson and French coach Didier Deschamps, walked out of the tunnel and each placed a bouquet of flowers on the ground before stopping for a moment of silence.
Ahead of the match, England Captain Wayne Rooney said: “The French will give everything they can to make France proud.”
In a rare sight, armed British police patrolled the stadium as fear gripped major global cities in the wake of the Paris attack.
Another soccer game between Germany and the Netherlands, which was scheduled to take place in Germany on Tuesday, was called off following a stadium evacuation after an ambulance packed with explosives was found in the area.
BREAKING: Hannover stadium hosting Germany-Netherlands game is being evacuated.— The Associated Press (@AP) November 17, 2015
Germany was playing France in a friendly soccer match on Friday when tragedy struck The City of Light.
French player Lassana Diarra, who lost his cousin in the attacks, is playing the game despite the tragedy. After finding out about her death, he tweeted: "She was for me a support, a big sister.”
Deschamps reportedly told the players they could withdraw from the friendly game against England, but none has.
England ended up beating France 2-0 during the historic and emotional match.
France is set to host one of the largest soccer tournaments in June with Euro 2016. Fans who want to attend the competition got a guarantee from Jacques Lambert, the president of the organizing committee, that security will prevail above everything.
He said in an interview with French sports magazine, L'Equipe: “I've said it several times before: security is the biggest thing at stake for Euro 2016.”
The month-long tournament will take place in 10 cities across the country with the final being held in Paris at the Stade de France, where a bombing took place outside the stadium.