Never have the words Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite held such international emotional resonance. Since the attacks on Paris where 129 people were killed and 99 injured, the world has lit up their most celebrated monuments in the blue, white and red of the French flag. A very public demonstration of unity and solidarity in this most troubling of times.
This was further demonstrated on Tuesday night when England and France met together to play a friendly football match at Wembley Stadium.
A crowd of more than 70,000 showed up with many donning the tricolore of France.
The game with Germany at the Stade de France was targeted in the attacks on Friday night. Regardless, France chose to go ahead with the game against England, which ended in a 2-0 win to their rivals.
Despite being previous foes on the field this game was very much about the unification of two nations in wake of the attacks. Football Association encouraged supporters to learn the words to La Marseillaise in a show of solidarity. A minute silence was held prior to kickoff. Flowers were laid at the side of the pitch during the course of the game.
In possibly the most poignant moment of the match French midfielder, Lassana Diarra, whose cousin was killed at the Bataclan Theatre was subbed on. Diarra was playing across town at the Stade de France at the time.
Three suicide bombers attempted to enter Paris’s Stade de France on Friday as France played a friendly with Germany. One was denied entrance and detonated his vest outside of the stadium. Another two explosions occurred close by. These were all linked to other attacks across the city.
In light of Friday, extra security officers were at the game on Tuesday night, including armed police.
Prince William, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and president of the FA decided to attend the match. PM David Cameron was also at Wembley stadium.
Following the game England manager Roy Hodgson stated, “We see the game as a show of solidarity and we see it also as a show of defiance”.
Other football matches in Belgium and Hanover were cancelled due to security threats.
France’s football season is now over for 2015, but they will play host to the European Cup commencing in June next year.