- Associated Press - Sunday, June 15, 2014

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) - France captain Hugo Lloris had looked forward to leading his teammates in a heartfelt rendition of “La Marseillaise” at the World Cup.

He’ll have to wait another five days, as the traditional pre-match national anthems were never played before Sunday’s game against Honduras.

“Whether it’s the officials, or the players, we’re the ones affected by it and it’s a pity,” Lloris said after France’s 3-0 win. “A national anthem is something so important. We’re playing in the World Cup, we’re representing our country.”

The teams came onto the pitch as usual, greeted by a massive roar. But as players took their positions, it became clear something was wrong. The Group E match kicked off at Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre on Sunday without the anthems being played over the stadium speakers.

FIFA said after the match it was “very sorry” that that the audio system didn’t function.

“We are currently evaluating the cause of the situation and working to fix it,” the football body said in a statement.

All international football matches, friendlies included, typically begin with national anthems - with French fans always giving a rousing rendition of “La Marseillaise” before the team’s games.

“I think it’s a shame. But if it had been Brazil I think they would have found a solution to have the hymns before the match,” France defender Mamadou Sakho said. “We’re very proud to sing it, to represent our country. But you have to rise above it. We heard the crowd were singing it, and that was very touching.”


Associated Press writer Chris Brummitt in Porto Alegre contributed to this report.

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