France captain Lloris and manager Deschamps back decision to play England friendly

France's headcoach Didier Deschamps (L) and France's captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris discuss the decision to proceed with friendly match against England.


France captain Hugo Lloris hopes Tuesday’s friendly against England will be a show of solidarity as well as a chance to "escape" from the drama affecting his homeland.

Didier Deschamps’ side made the trip to Wembley despite a series of terrorist attacks which hit Paris on Friday night, while Les Bleus were playing against Germany.

That decision came from French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet and, although Lloris admitted to having doubts, he supports it.

He said: "The president made the best decision, I think, to play this game.

"Of course we are human and we had doubts, whether to play or not, to go home or stay together, but I think it was well managed by the coach and the technical staff.

"The last three days were a bit dramatic. We were in mourning all together, we spent some time at Clairefontaine (at the national football academy).

"We will try to escape from it for one hour and 30 minutes. There will be a lot of emotion from the players, but it will be a great moment of solidarity.

"It will be an opportunity for us to show character and share this moment with all the English people."

France arrived to find Wembley’s arch lit up in the red, white and blue of their national flag, while the words of their national anthem La Marseillaise will be displayed on the stadium screen to encourage English fans to join their visitors in singing it before the game.

Regarding the anthem, Lloris said: "We will sing that together and share in that moment.


"It will be sung by a great number of English people as well, which will make it stronger.

"I know the English very well and I know they’re very respectful as far as this kind of event is concerned. I know they’ll help us to commemorate.

"This game is a good opportunity to represent the French nation. The French nation is more important than French football tomorrow."

Coach Deschamps called on his side to represent their country with pride in trying circumstances.

He said: "We’re here and we will take the field tomorrow, representing our country with ever more pride than we normally would and to make sure those colours of blue, white and red are represented even more proudly than they normally would."

Deschamps also reflected on the confusion that surrounded the Germany game.

Three suicide bomb attacks hit the area around the Stade de France in Saint Denis, with an explosion clearly audible on a television broadcast of the game.

Le Graet revealed afterwards that he had taken the decision not to inform the players at half-time, while it also emerged that a cousin of midfielder Lassana Diarra was killed in the attacks and Antoine Griezmann’s sister Maud was at a rock concert at the Bataclan Theatre where more than 80 people were killed. She escaped safely.

Deschamps said: "We were of course playing the match on Friday and we hadn’t heard the two or three explosions.

"We didn’t really know what was going on and we only became aware at the end of the match. Then of course we realised what a disaster had taken place around the stadium and also within the centre of Paris.

"Faced with such an atrocity and such an act of barbarism it’s difficult to find words. We all believe, the staff, the players, we are all thinking of course about the victims, about their families who are in pain.

"You know what this match will represent tomorrow. There won’t simply be a sports dimension, but it’ll be much more than that."

Regarding Diarra’s state of mind, Lloris said: "We have been with him through this dramatic moment. Afterwards, he has not said much about that.

"His desire, like that of all the players, is to be on the pitch and represent his country."

The France and Germany teams spent much of Friday night sheltering in the Stade de France dressing rooms after the match, before the Germany squad were flown home and France headed to Clairefontaine.

Deschamps continued: "After the match the German delegation was there as well.

"They were also protected by the French state and, as we were the national team, quite apart from the problems of security that had to be guaranteed, I talked to (Germany coach) Joachim Low and other Germans and it was very important for me to stay there with them until we found a solution that was acceptable for them.

"Of course we respected their decision. Time doesn’t count, it’s true we did leave very late.

"In the middle of the night we got to Clairefontaine and we tried to eat and tried to sleep, but I won’t hide from you that the night was a very short night for everybody."