Fans at London’s Wembley stadium united to sing the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, on Tuesday, as France faced England in the team’s first match back since terrorists targeted their game against Germany as part of a wave of attacks in Paris on Friday.
French flags few throughout the stands prior to the game and during the anthem. Prince William, Britain’s Football Association president and the Duke of Cambridge, laid a wreath before the match, along with England manager Roy Hodgson and French head coach Didier Deschamps.
The home team’s national anthem is usually sung first, but protocol was shifted as a sign of unity by the English. “We with begin with ‘God Save the Queen’ and then we are going to sing altogether, and all united, ‘La Marseillaise,’” the French public address announcer told the crowd. England’s fans were given the words of the French anthem in order to join in the performance.
Friday’s attacks killed 129 people and left about 350 injured. Terrorists attempted to attack the Stade de France during the France-Germany game as part of a coordinated rampage throughout the city, but at least one was turned away at the gate. The three stadium attackers ultimately managed to kill two people outside of and near the stadium with their suicide bombs and it could have been a lot worse were it not for the decision taken by officials to not evacuate the stadium. French midfielder Lassana Diarra, whose cousin died in the attack on the Bataclan concert hall, was at the Tuesday’s game and looked especially somber during the performance of the anthem (he is number 12).
(Perversely, Diarra—who is Muslim—has actually in the past been accused of being a Jihadi fighter in Syria based on no evidence and against all common sense.)
Earlier on Tuesday, Germany’s first game back since the attack against the Netherlands in Hannover was cancelled and the stadium evacuated after police reported to have “concrete information” about a bomb plot.
The performance of La Marseillaise at Wembley was followed by a perhaps even more heart-wrenching minute of silence.
England took a 2-0 lead in the game after Wayne Rooney scored the team’s second goal early in the second half.