France captain Hugo Lloris has embraced the friendly against England at Wembley as the chance to honour the victims of the terrorist atrocities that hit Paris on Friday night.
The squad were exposed to the attacks when their match with Germany at the Stade de France was targeted, with a bystander and three suicide bombers dying in blasts outside the stadium. The players heard the explosions but the match continued.
Lassana Diarra’s cousin Asta Diakite was one of the 129 people who died, while Antoine Griezmann’s sister managed to escape the mass killing at the Bataclan theatre.
A report states that several players were unhappy at being told the England game would go ahead without being consulted over the decision, but Lloris insists the team is ready to play on Tuesday night as a moment of great solidarity.
“We had some doubts and concerns about the game, but in the end the president confirmed we had to play. We respect his decision,” Lloris said.
“It’s only human to have a few doubts whether to play or not, but the whole situation has been handled very well by the manager, the backroom staff, the technical team and the FFF president.
“This will be a good opportunity to represent the French nation. I think the French nation is more important than French football on this night. This will be a great moment of solidarity.
“It’s a case of each individual player looking to express himself on the field and representing our country on the pitch – to play for our country and to play for the victims.”
Coach Didier Deschamps has welcomed the decision to press ahead with the game, describing sport as “a symbol in social and economic life, a way of uniting people”.
“Sport is a representation of unity of diversity, of diversity coming together,” he said.
“Look at the words that Lassana Diarra published in his remarkable message: sport has no colour or religion. That has always been the case. It must remain so.”