After the tragic events in Paris on Friday night, England’s friendly match against France has taken on a deeper significance in what is expected to an emotional occasion at Wembley.
A total of 129 people were killed in attacks at a number of targeted locations in the French capital, including the Stade de France, where Les Bleus were playing Germany.
The fixture provides an opportunity for both sets of players and supporters to represent a show of solidarity which could take the focus off a friendly designed to be preparation for both sides ahead of Euro 2016 – to be held in France.
England will be looking to bounce back from a sharp reality check against Spain, where they were comprehensively beaten 2-0 in a match that put an end to the Three Lions’ unbeaten run since the 2014 World Cup.
They will face an equally difficult test against France whose victory over world champions Germany was rightfully overshadowed by the terrorist attacks in Paris.
Les Bleus have bounced back from a shock defeat to Albania in a friendly match in June and have been on an impressive run which continued in their victory over 2014 World Cup winners Germany.
The French will also take confidence from being unbeaten in six matches against England since 1997.
The two nations’ last encounter was in the group stage of the 2012 European Championship.
In a tense encounter in Ukraine, Joleon Lescott’s first international goal for the Three Lions was cancelled out by Samir Nasri’s equaliser with the game finishing 1-1.
The last match between the two sides at Wembley was a friendly match in November 2010 where France came away with a 2-1 victory.
Whilst this international takes on a special significance in light of events in Paris on Friday night, it still represents an opportunity for both sets of players to make an imprint in their managers’ minds.
Roy Hodgson and Didier Deschamps will be keen to start pencilling in names in their respective squads for next summer’s tournament and this match remains a footballing test for both nations.
Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard was added to the squad by Hodgson over the weekend.
Despite having only made eight appearances for the Red Devils, the 22-year-old was called up for the first time due to an injury to club team-mate Michael Carrick, who suffered suspected knee ligament damage against Spain.
Tottenham’s Ryan Mason has also been called into the squad to bolster the host’s limited options in midfield.
England will also be without Leicester City’s in-form striker Jamie Vardy who is suffering from injury.
France’s players were given the opportunity to pull out of the friendly match following Friday’s terrorist attacks but all 23 players have agreed to travel.
Lassana Diarra, whose cousin died in the tragedy and Antoine Griezmann, whose sister survived the attack on the Bataclan Theatre, have both remained with the squad.
Premier League forwards Anthony Martial of Manchester United and Olivier Giroud of Arsenal could both feature in the starting XI, as could Juventus’ star midfielder Paul Pogba, who will always pose a threat.
Last Meeting: England 1-1 France (June 11, 2012, Euro 2012)
Key Men: England – Wayne Rooney; France – Paul Pogba
Form: England – WWWWWL; France – LWWWWW
Shoot Says: England 1-1 France