England suffered a 3-2 defeat against France in Paris on Tuesday evening, despite the hosts being reduced to ten-men for much of the second half.
There were emotional scenes before the match as the crowd joined in a rendition of Oasis hit Don’t Look Back in Anger, as those lost in tragic attacks on Manchester and London were remembered. It was also poignant that such a tribute was played here, a year-and-a-half after the French capital, and this stadium, came under siege from mindless terrorist atrocities.
Here, as fans from both fiercely proud countries joined together, it served as another reminder of football’s unifying spirit in the face of adversity.
Harry Kane, who has spoken of his desire to keep the England captaincy for the long-term, rescued a point against Scotland in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday and put the visitors ahead in Paris when he prodded past Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Hugo Lloris on nine minutes. But goals from Samuel Umtiti and Djibril Sidible ensured the hosts went in at half-time with a deserved lead.
It was England’s skipper who once again made the first impression of the second half, when he slotted home from the penalty spot after Raphael Varane was shown a red card for his foul on Dele Alli shortly after the restart. Being reduced to ten men didn’t deter the impact of Didier Deschamps’ side, who netted the winner on 78 minutes through Ousmane Dembele.
“Scoring twice in France should be enough,” said Kane, who has now scored eight goals in 19 caps. “We just weren’t good enough. They were getting too much space in vital areas, even with 10 men. We want to be brave and play from the back and mistakes will happen. It’s disappointing. We were in the driver’s seat but we didn’t step it up another gear. Not good enough.”