England 2 France 0

By Paul Lagan
Last updated : 17 November 2015

England win but in all honesty this was not a football match in the truest sense, this was an outpouring of grief.

After an incredibly emotional preamble to the kick-off where wreaths were laid and the Tricolor a blazoned across the stadium, the action started in in understandably subdued fashion.

The irritating self-proclaimed band held their instruments for the best part of 15 minutes, refusing to play, which added to the surreal atmosphere.
The first attempt on goal from from either side came from the visitor in the form of Anthony Martial, on 18 minutes whose, left-wing run and shot forced Joe Hart into a decent save.
Nathaniel Clyne, from right-back was England's best attacking option, so much so that right winger Raheem Sterling was forced to the other wing in order to gain a foothold in the game.
With England employing a counter-attacking stance, the first evidence of that came on 31 minutes when Wayne Rooney broke free and left fly a ferocious left-footer that inched wide of Spurs' France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
But Lloris was beaten in sensational style by club team mate Dele Alli, who up until then had been very poor. The midfielder picked the ball and pinged a fabulous 25-yarder high and wide of Lloris's outstretched hand and the ball thumped the top right-hand corner of his net.
Sterling could have doubled the lead seconds before the break with another swift counter-attack, but his effort was deflected away for a corner.
England boss Roy Hodgson opted to replace goalkeeper Joe Hart with Jack Butland from Stoke City and the Three Lions doubled their lead within seconds of the restart whistle.
Sterling, wide on the left floated over the perfect far post cross and Rooney was on hand to drill a volley straight at Lorris and the pace of the ball meant the goalkeeper had no chance.
A fine interplay move by substitute Paul Pogba and Martial almost saw the visitors snatch a goal in 64 minutes, but Butland was quick to see the deft backhoes by Pogba to in-running Martial and he smothered the ball well.
A slew of substitutions from both side took the edge of what was a muted game anyhow as the players ran down the clock.
Many supporters from the 71,223 decided to leave with 10 minutes to go and the players probably felt something similar.

 

 

 

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