The England versus France game was not only a universal cry for Liberté and Egalité, but most of all about Fraternité; an evening dedicated not to a game in the homeland of football but a union sacrée of people grieving and shouting their determination to say NO to fear, NO to terrorist threats and most of all show their solidarity to the victims and their families.
Didier Deschamps, the France’s Head coach, called it “a moment where everyone came together, a moment of communion,” for the 73.000 supporters present in the Wembley stadium gave a significant response to Paris bombings and killings. It wasn’t the kind of victory obtained by guns but nonetheless their presence in the stadium was highly symbolic.
Two friendly games in Germany and Belgium were cancelled due to concrete terrorist threats but in London the sport found a place to show that peace and unity are not vain words. England won 2-0 but the score will be only remembered because of the dramatic circumstances, the public’s fervor singing La Marseillaise, the French players’ tears and most of all the perfect, emotional minute of silence.
Now that flags and scarfs are back in their closet, the memories are still alive, but for how long? Life goes on and with it the everyday routine will help to fade the people’s memries, but hopefully not forget that incredible evening when humanity, friendship and good will were united under the flag with a football on it . EURO 2016 in France is just months away, so what should we expect from next summer’s European Football rendez-vous ?
Just after the bombings and shootings, some officials claimed that under these circumstances the contest shouldn’t take place in France; the three Kamikaze who blew themselves outside the Stade de France during the France vs Germany friendly was scary enough to prompt people to avoid any game in any stadium. Thankfully these negative thoughts didn’t last: the threat would be the same in any other country and cancel the event would be playing into the terrorists hands, so no way ! The “Fan Zones” interrogations were next: thankfully the French government decided to maintain this popular and noisy places where people speak in so many different languages but they understand each other perfectly and have fun together.
Of course, it won’t be easy; there will be lots of police controls and maybe some of the visitors will feel the chilling reminder of what happened the 13th of November 2015, but that’s the price to pay. This was very well demonstrated during the Wembley game when armed police patrolled outside the stadium but the supporters inside were kept safe and lived a unforgetable experience.
England’s skipper Wayne Rooney, spoke passionately and intelligently about this special game :”Football is a global game, known around the world. It’s not about religion, it’s not about race-it’s about togetherness. Anyone can play the game and tonight we showed that who-ever you are around the world, you can come together. Everyone needs to stand tall together in these tough times”.