Despite the tragic Paris suicide bomb attacks on Friday night, the friendly between England and France is set to go ahead as scheduled and the match will represent so much more than just a game of football.
There were huge doubts as to whether the fixture would be taking place after the Stade de France was one of the targets of the terror attack during France’s friendly game against Germany on Friday night.
Three people were left dead and a host of other injured when the suicide bomb attack was carried out during the game. In total, six attacks took place throughout Paris which is believed to have taken the lives of 129 people.
After much speculation, the English FA have agreed with the French Football Federation that the match is going to take place and many have welcomed the decision, with the game being represented as an act of defiance and solidarity against the cowardly attack from the terrorists.
France midfielder Lassana Diarra revealed that his cousin, Asta Diakite, was one of those who died in the attacks, while winger Antoine Griezmann admitted his sister was one of the lucky ones who escaped the siege at the Bataclan theatre where at least 89 people were killed by gunmen who attacked an Eagles of Death Metal concert.
Despite such a harrowing experience, both Diarra and Griezmann, along with the 23-man France squad which was present against Germany will be travelling to London for the game on Tuesday and one can be sure that the match will be an emotionally charged one for Les Bleus.
As for England, they suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of Spain in their friendly game on Friday night and manager Roy Hodgson is expected to make a couple of changes to his lineup for the clash against France.
Joe Hart is favourite to start in goal but there is a possibility that number two Jack Butland could feature on the night. Kyle Walker and Ryan Bertrand will most likely be starting in the full back positions while Chris Smalling could be partnered by anyone of Gary Cahill, John Stones or Phil Jones at the heart of the backline.
Michael Carrick suffered a serious ankle injury in the game against Spain and the midfielder has been replaced by Manchester United teammate Jesse Lingard. However, Lingard is unlikely to be starting and young Dele Alli should replace Carrick in the starting lineup. Fabian Delph and Ross Barkley look set to start in midfield but Jonjo Shelvey will also be in contention.
Wayne Rooney started from the bench against Spain but he should be reinstated in the lineup at the expense of the ineffectual Adam Lallana while the duo of Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane complete the attacking trio.
England (Probable XI): Hart; Walker, Cahill, Smalling, Bertrand; Delph, Alli, Barkley; Sterling, Rooney, Kane
France (Probable XI): Lloris; Sagna, Varane, Koscielny, Evra; Pogba, Schneiderlin, Matuidi, Ben Arfa; Martial, Giroud
11/06/2012 France 1 – 1 England
17/11/2010 England 1 – 2 France
26/03/2008 France 1 – 0 England
Heading into the game, not many are concerned regarding the final outcome and the occasion is rather seen as a mark of respect to the people who have lost their lives in the horrific tragedy.
Speaking ahead of the game, England manager, Roy Hodgson, had stated that his side as well as the home fans will be showing their solidarity on the night.
“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.”
In all honesty, not many are concerned regarding the final result but for the sake of prediction, a score draw should be on the cards.