England beat France on a poignant night at Wembley

England produced one of their most encouraging performances under Roy Hodgson as Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney scored to beat France 2-0 on a night that was more about solidarity and remembrance than it was about football.
With the memory of Friday’s Paris attacks far too fresh in the memory, there was a sombre feel to the atmosphere in the build-up to the game and both sets of fans were keen to not only pay their respects to the victims, but also show their togetherness at this difficult time.
The players linked arms for a joint team photo, the fans revealed a giant Tricolore behind one of the goals, and the whole stadium impeccably observed a minute’s silence.
And then, under a cloud of emotion, a football match kicked off.
In the event France never got going on the pitch and it was England who controlled the match from the start. The youngest England side since 1959 dominated midfield, looked composed on the ball and had threat on the break – none of which have been generally synonymous with England teams against high calibre opposition over the last few years.
A terrific goal by midfielder and man of the match Alli on his full England debut gave the hosts the lead shortly before the break, with the Spurs youngster winning the ball in the middle of the park and picking out the top-corner from range (via a slight deflection).
And it was Alli again who won the ball in midfield to set up England’s second shortly after the interval. The midfielder was too strong for Paul Pogba, sentRaheem Sterling away quickly down the left, and the Manchester City wide man then teed it up perfectly for Rooney to smash home goal number 51 of his international career.
That was about the last of the meaningful action, as both teams traded half-pace punches for the remainder of the 90 minutes, and the two sets of players and coaching staff embraced on the final whistle.
This was always going to be a night that was about much more than just football.

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