England manager Gareth Southgate said that there was no question the game against Germany would be cancelled after the London “terrorist” attack as it’s “part of our identity that we carry on in moments like this”. Three members of the public and a policeman were killed and 40 injured in the attack outside the British parliament when a man drove into pedestrians, then stabbed a police officer before being shot dead.
“Obviously our first thoughts are with the families of those who have lost their lives or been injured,” Southgate told English broadcaster ITV from Dortmund where the friendly international took place. “It puts football into perspective. We are conscious that part of our identity as a nation is that we carry on in moments like this.” British police said they were treating the London attack “as a terrorist incident”.
After the game, which England lost 1-0, Southgate admitted that there was some discussion over staging an act of tribute to those who died before the kick-off. However, players and fans will get the opportunity to pay their respects when the national team play a World Cup qualifier in London on Sunday. “I don’t know all the details of the attack because the story was breaking as we travelling and preparing for the game, there was some discussion about doing something tonight, but we felt it was more appropriate to do something back home for our home game,” said the 46-year-old Southgate.
“We carry on in moments like this, we don’t allow people to put us off what we want to do on a daily basis and we go about our working lives. London in particular has suffered like that before. We wanted to put on a performance with passion and desire that reflected that, we haven’t got the win we would have liked, but people can see the commitment of the players.”
The Football Association’s chairman Greg Clarke confirmed a full tribute would be paid to the victims before Sunday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at London’s Wembley. “Our thoughts are with all of those who have been affected by this terrible incident,” said Clarke in a statement. “We will be recognising the bravery of the security services and all those involved at the England v Lithuania match on Sunday.”
Southgate said the team backed the FA’s decision. “We have left everything else to our hierarchy,” said the England manager. “In terms of any tribute, we felt that in London on Sunday was the right thing to do.” In support for their opponents, the German Football Association (DFB) tweeted: “Dear english friends, we are with you in our thoughts. #London #DieMannschaft @England.”