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England v France: Wembley braced for emotionally charged friendly

France will play their first game since the harrowing attacks in Paris in an emotionally charged friendly against England at Wembley on Tuesday.

The people of France are still coming to terms with Friday’s events in which 129 people were killed and a further 99 left in a critical condition following a series of terror attacks across the city that shocked the world.

Among the casualties was a cousin of France midfielder Lassana Diarra, who confirmed the news via social media on Saturday.

However, Diarra – who played 80 minutes of France’s 2-0 win over Germany at the Stade de France on Friday – is expected to travel with the rest of the squad to London.

Antoine Griezmann is also set to be part of the travelling party, the Atletico Madrid striker confirming his sister survived the attack on the Bataclan theatre in which 87 fatalities were reported when gunmen stormed a performance by American rock band Eagles of Death Metal.

One of the terrifying incidents on Friday occurred in close proximity to the Stade de France during the France-Germany fixture. The world champions spent the night inside in the ground as a precautionary measure and the tragic events across the French capital led to serious doubts about whether the friendly against England would take place.

However, the French Football Federation has opted to play the game – a decision welcomed by the Football Association (FA) and England manager Roy Hodgson.

“The match will be a serious occasion but one that shows that the football world is united against these atrocities,” Hodgson said via a statement on the FA’s official website.

“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.”

The encounter gives England a chance to bounce back from Friday’s 2-0 defeat to European champions Spain in Alicante, a result that marked their first loss since the World Cup in June 2014.

Winger Jesse Lingard is in contention to make a surprise senior England debut, having only made eight appearances for Manchester United. 

Lingard earned a first call-up due to injuries to United team-mate Michael Carrick – who suffered suspected ankle ligament damage against Spain – and Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy (knock).

France, meanwhile, can extend a fine record against England. Les Bleus are unbeaten in their past six encounters against England, with their last defeat coming in 1997.

Moreover, the Euro 2016 hosts are in a rich vein of form ahead of their trip to the English capital.

Since a shock 1-0 loss to Albania in June, Didier Deschamps’ side have rebounded to win five straight matches, beating Germany on Friday courtesy of goals from Olivier Giroud and Andre-Pierre Gignac.

Sun 15 Nov, 2015
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