England manager Roy Hodgson believes the friendly with France at Wembley on Tuesday will provide an opportunity to show “solidarity” in the face of the Paris terror attacks.
A series of what appeared to be co-ordinated terrorist attacks claimed the lives of 129 people in Paris on Friday night, with a further 99 critically injured according the latest figures released by French officials.
The Stade de France was the target of a bomb blast during France’s 2-0 win over Germany, with three deaths confirmed after the match.
Fans remained inside the ground and on the playing surface for a long period after the final whistle, while players from both teams spent the night at the stadium before Germany flew back to Frankfurt on Saturday morning.
The tragic events immediately placed doubt around the prospect of France travelling to face England next week but the French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed on Saturday that the game would go ahead as planned.
In a statement released on the Football Association’s official website, Hodgson detailed how the English governing body reached out to their French counterparts after their own national team’s 2-0 loss to Spain on Friday.
He added that the game in London provides the opportunity to demonstrate that “the football world is united against these atrocities”.
“On behalf of the England coaching staff and players, I would like to pass on our heartfelt condolences to the French nation at this extremely difficult time,” Hodgson said.
“The events in Paris have left us all shocked and we are thinking of the victims, their loved ones and all those affected by these tragic events.
“Shortly after the match last night [Friday] the FA contacted the FFF to express our deep sympathy and ask if they wanted to go ahead with Tuesday’s scheduled game at Wembley Stadium.
“Today [Saturday] the FFF has informed us they would still like to play the fixture. We respect that decision and will prepare accordingly – both on and off the pitch.
“The match will be a serious occasion but one that shows that the football world is united against these atrocities.
“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.”
All UEFA-sanctioned matches over the coming days, including the Euro 2016 play-offs, will be preceded by a minute’s silence, while teams involved in these fixtures will also wear black armbands as a mark of respect.
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