England and France pay tribute
Written By: Robert Halter
Floral tributes were laid pitch side to mark the lives lost through the Paris terror attacks, before both sets of players from England and France stood in unity, before a minutes silence was observed in the centre circle by both teams prior to kick off. On six minutes, Blaise Matuidi teed the ball up for Yohan Cabaye, but his long range strike drifted over the top of the crossbar as Le Bleus threatened for the first time. Then a defensive mistake by French goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris found his Tottenham team mate, Harry Kane by mistake but the Three Lions marksman decided to cross instead of having a strike at goal and lost out on the chance to score but Raphael Varane was on hand to patch up the error for Les Bleus as Wayne Rooney could not be found from the ball across. On seventeen minutes, Anthony Martial, cut past Nathaniel Clyne, before his low strike was comfortably stopped by Joe Hart but moments later the England goalkeeper’s miscued clearance mistakenly gave the ball to Cabaye but a saving tackle by Gary Cahill diverted the danger. In the twentieth minute, a handball by Morgan Schneiderlin from a ball in by Raheem Sterling, provided the platform for England captain, Rooney, but he failed to test Lloris, with a direct free kick. On the half hour mark, Kane put the ball out wide to Rooney, who drifted past Laurent Koscielny, before unleashing an effort which rose over the left side of the bar. But France responded as Hatem Ben Arfa found Cabaye in space, but a brave stop from Hart, stifled the attack, in the minute that followed. However it was England that opened their account on thirty eight minutes, as after Dele Alli won the challenge on Schneiderlin, a little dink to Sterling was then fed over to Rooney, who provided Ali, whose fierce effort spun off Koscielny, into the roof of the net. A minute on and Rooney was again provider to Kane, whose stinging strike was palmed away by Lloris on the right side of the box. But within thirty seconds, France pressed up field when Andre-Pierre Gignac’s right footed shot from outside the area produced a low stop from Hart. On forty three minutes, Ross Barkley at pace, gave the ball to Sterling, whose curling effort deflected off Varane and wide of the right post. Before the second half resumed, Paul Pogba replaced Matuidi and Kingsley Coman was brought on for Ben Arfa in a double French change while England switched goalkeepers as Jack Butland took over from Hart. Two minutes into the re-start, England extended their lead, as Ali won the ball from Pogba in the middle of the park and as Sterling whipped in a cross from the left flank, a near post volley from Rooney, crept past Lloris, inside the right post. In the fiftieth minute, Kane tried a long range blast at goal after seeing off the marking of Koscielny, but the ball flew past the target. Further changes were made by France as Lassana Diarra appeared for Cabaye and Olivier Giroud took over from Gignac. In the fifty eighth minute, Martial combined with Pogba, whose bending strike landed on the roof of the outside netting. At sixty four minutes, a clever back heel by Pogba put Martial clean through but his feet got caught up with the ball, before Butland fended away his effort, and Martial was then replaced by Antoine Griezmann before England brought on Adam Lallana for Sterling, further changes later took place as Jonjo Shelvey went on for Barkley and Ryan Bertrand took over from Kane while France took off Schneiderlin as Moussa Sissoko appeared before Phil Jones went on for goal scorer Alli, who had set England on their way to a 2-0 victory over France which was crowned with a man of the match performance.