International Opinion

Viva La France As Football World Unites

After the atrocities in Paris on Friday night when terrorists massacred 129 people at various locations around the French capital, thoughts of football were rightly placed on the back burner.The whole of France and indeed the global community at large is in a state of mourning following these vicious attacks as police hunt for those responsible. The nightmare began early evening as Parsian’s headed out for the night in an effort to wind down and get ready for the weekend. Many headed to the Bataclan Concert Hall to see US band Eagles of Death fronted by Josh Homme perform whilst others made their way to nearby restaurants and bars or to the national stadium, the Stade de France where France were taking on the world champions Germany. The game was attended by a sold out crowd of 80,000 which included French President Francois Hollande. Twenty minutes after kick off at 9.20pm local time, the first attack happened on the stadium with a suicide bomber detonating himself after failing to gain entry to the stadium. He was stopped by a security guard who detected the explosives strapped to the terrorists body  which probably saved thousands of lives. The blast, which killed the terrorist and a passer-by was heard inside the stadium and was picked up on TV for those watching at home. Ten minutes later another terrorist detonated outside the stadium near a different entrance again after failing to find a way in. A third blew himself up at a fast food outlet near the stadium 23 minutes after that.

Inside the stadium, the game continued with many unaware of what was happening outside. The blasts sounded like fireworks which startled many inside but as the game played on, few left. At half time, both national managers were informed of what had occurred but decided to play on after consulting with security in regards to what was safest for the players and the crowd. In the end France ran out 2-0 victors but the result meant little as the players left the field only to find out what had being happening in the city that night on monitors inside the tunnel. Both teams looked visibly shocked as the news flooded in that gunmen had terrorized the city killing many, including 89 at the Bataclan. The fans who had just watched the match unfold now started to stream onto the pitch as they heard the news filter through. Many hugged each other and cried in fear of what many happen next but by that point the stadium was on lockdown. They would eventually be allowed to leave once the area was secured but both teams remained at the venue until the early hours of the morning until they knew that it was safe for them to leave. The following day news broke that two players on the French team,  Lassana Diarra and Antonie Griezmann had been directly affect with relatives caught up in the tragedy. Diarra’s cousin was killed by the gunmen whilst Griezmann’s sister had been at the Bataclan when the gunman had burst in and started shooting. Luckily she managed to escape but many didn’t in what is now considered to be one of the worst attacks on France in its history.

Mourners gather outside the Bataclan Concert Hall (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Mourners gather outside the Bataclan Concert Hall (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

With France now in three days of official mourning and still on lockdown, its hard to know when the country will be able to return to a state of normality. But the French are resilient and refuse to lie down to these terrorist acts. For that reason, France has decided to go ahead with Tuesday night’s international friendly with England at Wembley. All 23 players who reported for the Germany game have travelled to London including Diarra and Griezmann in a unite front. The result of the game is not important but the significance of it taking place is. It’s a defiant stand to show that the terrorists cannot win and that the UK like many other nations across the world stands shoulder to shoulder with France. The stadium whilst under tight security will be lit up in the tricolore in honour of the visitors whilst the home fans will join their French rivals in the emotional singing the national anthem of France, La Marseillasie.

#PrayforParis

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