World

Germans spent night in stadium dressing room after Paris attacks

World champions play it safe following explosions outside Stade de France

It started as a celebration of football, a glamour friendly between Euro 2016 hosts France and world champions Germany in front of 80,000 fans at the showpiece Stade de France in Paris.

Three explosions during the first half interrupted the football carnival yesterday morning (Singapore time), but those in the stadium remained largely unaware of what was going on right outside, and at various other locations all over the city.

The crowd loudly celebrated goals by Olivier Giroud and substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac late in either half of the match that gave France a 2-0 win.

But football must have drifted from the minds of the spectators when it emerged that three people had died near the arena.

Later, the death toll climbed to five outside the glittering venue, which staged the 1998 World Cup final. Another 11 were seriously hurt and some 30 people had slight injuries.

One of the explosions was near a McDonald's restaurant on the fringes of the stadium.

French President Francois Hollande, who was in attendance at the game, was hurried from Stade de France.

With tight security building up, there was evident confusion after the final whistle.

The exit points were restricted and a large number of fans poured onto the pitch.

There was no visible sense of panic, with fans showing their solidarity by singing the French national anthem La Marseillaise as they exited.

Instead of taking the risk of driving through the French capital to their hotel following the attacks, Germany's football team spent the night at the Stade de France.

WORRIED

"The players were very worried, the information was not very clear and we didn't want to take any risk on the road, so we decided not to drive through Paris... (which was) not 100 per cent secured and so we stayed in the dressing room," said Germany manager Oliver Bierhoff.

"There was a big uncertainty, a big fear and a strange mood in the locker room. They picked up their phones right away to call home."

The team have since returned to Germany, and Bierhoff told reporters at Frankfurt: "The team are very affected, and therefore we decided to give them a day off today, for them to go home... and be with their loved ones."

For some players, the reality hit home harder than others.

French forward Antoine Griezmann, who played against the Germans, took to Twitter to reveal that his sister had been caught up in the hostage crisis at the Bataclan theatre.

American band Eagles of Death Metal were playing there when black-clad gunmen wielding AK-47s stormed in, opening fire at concert-goers and taking as many as 100 hostages before French armed police stormed the venue.

Griezmann tweeted: "My thoughts are with the victims of the attacks. Thank God my sister was able to get out of the Bataclan. All my prayers are with the victims and their families."

All sporting fixtures in the Paris area this weekend have been cancelled, although the French football federation confirmed yesterday that an England-France friendly match scheduled for Tuesday at Wembley will go ahead. - Wire Services.

 

What they say

"Things like this are very scary. I heard the German team stayed in the stadium all night and went straight to the airport. It's a terrible tragedy and, obviously, our thoughts go out to everyone."

- Former Germany and Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann, who was part of the Liverpool Masters team that played the Manchester United Masters at the Castlewood Group Battle of the Reds last night

"It's just sad, I love my country. France is a very lovely place, and it shouldn't be like this. I am just thinking about all the families (affected) and glad that everybody I know is safe."

- French golfer Lionel Weber, who is playing at the World Classic Championship in Singapore

Paris attacksterrorismattacksBataclanUncategorisedGun ViolenceFranceFrancois HollandeGermany