Football Football

Hodgson keen to show France ‘solidarity’

Football fans gather on the field of the Stade de France stadium following the friendly international between France and Germany in Saint-Denis, near Paris, on November 13, 2015 (AFP Photo/Franck Fife)

LONDON, November 15 – England manager Roy Hodgson said Saturday he hoped the decision to go ahead with next week’s friendly international against France in London would be a chance to show “solidarity” after Friday’s deadly terror attacks in Paris.

At least 129 people were killed in a series of incidents across the French capital, with several deaths taking place near the Stade de France as France played Germany in a friendly international.

The attacks led to speculation as to whether the England-France match might be postponed, but earlier on Saturday the French Football Federation and England’s Football Association confirmed Tuesday’s fixture at Wembley Stadium would go ahead as scheduled.

“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,” said Hodgson.

“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,” said Hodgson, whose England team were beaten 2-0 away to European champions Spain in a friendly in Alicante on Friday.

“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.”

Hodgson stressed: “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.”