England and France meet tonight at Wembley in an international friendly of extra significance. The two nations meet following the devastating terrorist attacks on Friday night in Paris where 129 people died.
France go into the game as slight favourites, with both Lassana Diarra and Antoine Griezmann still available after neither withdrew from the squad despite Diarra’s cousin being one of those killed.
Griezmann’s sister was also at the Bataclan theatre where 89 people were killed attending the Eagles of Death Metal concert but managed to escape unharmed.
The two players were playing at the Stade de France during France’s 2-0 victory over Germany, which was also targeted during the attacks on Paris. Three suicide bombers died and one civilian was killed following explosions outside the ground.
England manager Roy Hodgson has himself said that the game is far from a “normal friendly”.
The FA offered the chance for any fans to return tickets following the attacks on Friday, but less than 100 have been returned and it is expected that Wembley will be at a near 90,000 full capacity for the game.
Wembley has this week donned the French flag on big screens outside the stadium accompanied with the words “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”.
Extra security will be at the game and the FA have urged fans to get to the stadium early in order to avoid long delays and missing the start of the match. Fans have also been told to avoid bringing bags if they can.
Prince William has also chosen to go to the match following the attacks on Friday to show his support.
Before the game, a minute’s silence will take place and the French national anthem, La Marseillaise will appear on big screens, allowing any England fans to join in if they wish in a show of togetherness with the French.
In terms of the match itself, Roy Hodgson has had a small injury crisis to contend with in the build-up to the game with both Michael Carrick and Jamie Vardy withdrawing through injury adding to the already large list of those unavailable.
Friendly or not, England will be hoping for a much better display than their disappointing 2-0 defeat to Spain on Friday.
France manager Didier Deschamps has a full squad available to him and is expected to field a strong line up, featuring several Premier League players including Hugo Lloris, Laurent Koscielny and Morgan Schneiderlin.
Predicted line ups:
England (4-2-3-1): Butland, Walker, Stones, Cahill, Bertrand, Dier, Shelvey, Sterling, Rooney, Lallana, Kane
France (4-3-3): Lloris, Sagna, Varane, Koscielny, Evra, Matuidi, Schneiderlin, Pogba, Griezmann, Giroud, Martial