The stands were full at Wembley Stadium, with 71,000 spectators singing the French national anthem “La Marseillaise” before the international soccer teams England and France competed in London on Tuesday, November 17.
All of the players came together for a joint photograph before kickoff, and a minute of silence was observed to honor the 129 lives that were lost in the attacks on Paris.
England manager Roy Hodgson said, “The French team and the French federation were very keen that the game would go ahead, just to make certain that the terrorists won’t win and force games to be stopped.”
While the decision to not cancel the game was intended to be a stand against the terrorists, other soccer games across Europe were cancelled, including Belgium vs. Spain in Brussels and Germany vs. the Netherlands in Hannover.
In similar cases of terrorism, global sporting events have been largely affected, usually with no standard period of time that teams need to wait before resuming regular play.
For instance, following the 9/11 attacks, both Major League Baseball and the NFL postponed games for a week, and Major League Soccer canceled the final two weeks of the regular season.
Not all of the French players were on board with the decision to not cancel the match, but all teammates showed their support, and played.
France captain Hugo Lloris explained, “The president [Hollande] confirmed that we had to play this game, and I think, like all of my teammates, we respect this decision, and it will be a good opportunity to represent the French nation.”
He added, “But I think the French nation is perhaps more important than French football.”
Wembley’s metal arch above the soccer field was lit with red, white, and blue in honor of the French flag.