What happens in the 90 minutes at Wembley is insignificant. It’s the events before kickoff that hold the most poignancy as England welcome France to London four short days after the horrific terrorist attacks that saw 129 people lose their lives in Paris on Friday.
With the French Football Confederation insisting the game should go ahead, a show of solidarity and tribute is expected before the game. English fans are encouraged to join in with La Marseillaise when the national anthems are sung and a minute’s silence is also planned.
Upon its conclusion, a game of football will take place. Having been resoundingly beaten by Spain last time out, Roy Hodgson will be looking for improvement, although he could be forgiven for not placing too much emphasis on that against Didier Deschamps’ side.
Across their history, the Three Lions have enjoyed more of the clashes with their rivals across the Channel, but of late it has been France that have had the upper hand.
The last of England’s 15 wins against Les Bleus came back in 1997 when Alan Shearer netted the only goal in friendly. Since then France have gone six games unbeaten, winning four of them.
Deschamps’ side have recent form to boost their confidence as well as a historical advantage. They have won all of their last five internationals and bravely secured a 2-0 win over Germany amid the terrifying scenes unfolding outside the Stade de France on Friday.
Portugal have also fallen foul of Les Tricolores in that time and their ability to perform against high level opposition overshadows England’s, who were schooled by Vicente del Bosque’s Spaniards in Alicante at the first sight of a true test.
As a side bet, one or more teams has failed to score in all of England’s last five internationals, while three of Spain’s last quintet of appearance has also seen one or neither team net. It’s 4/5 that the answer to the will both teams score question is no on Tuesday night.
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