Wednesday 23 May 2018

Rooney on target in poignant night at Wembley

England 2-0 France

Wayne Rooney (r) celebrates his goal against France
Wayne Rooney (r) celebrates his goal against France

England and France fans joined in solidarity at Wembley on a night of heightened security and emotions.

What was supposed to be an important friendly in preparation for Euro 2016 instead became a powerful, poignant occasion, following the events in Paris that horrified the world.

Multiple terrorist attacks across the French capital on Friday saw at least 129 murdered - among them France midfielder Lassana Diarra's cousin Asta Diakite - making the Wembley encounter an important show of solidarity and strength.

One group of visiting fans sung national anthem La Marseillaise on Wembley Way, holding a French flag with 'Thank to the world' written on it, while others held a Union Jack which featured the universal sign for peace combined with the Eiffel Tower.

Supporters posed for photos outside the stadium as kick-off approached, with one France fan, Jean-Michel Escoffier, explaining he bought tickets this morning in order to stand with his countrymen.

"It is fabulous what they have done with the stadium and the support - thanks England very much for this."

Escoffier was pointing to the colours of the Tricolore beamed onto the Wembley arch, which was also shown on screens that had Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite - France's national motto - up in lights.

Armed police were outside main entrances to the stadium, complemented by extra security procedures on entrance to the ground.

With all the pleasantries exchanged, the action on the first was set at a good tempo from the start, with England going in 1-0 up at the break, thanks to a debut goal by Spurs' teenage star Dele Alli.

Wayne Rooney then doubled England's lead with a header in the 48th minute - his 51st international strike.

Harry Kane then went close with a sizzling shot that went just over.

Rooney's Manchester United team-mate Anthony Martial showed some promise in the second half but to no avail.

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