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A surreal moment in Paris attacks: soccer game at stadium near explosion keeps playing

You could hear the explosion in the stadium. But the game continued after the place was locked down.

The French celebrated after a goal scored around the same time as the explosions began.
The French celebrated after a goal scored around the same time as the explosions began.
(Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

The attacks in Paris on Friday evening began with explosions near the Stade de France, where France and Germany were playing each other in a friendly soccer match. The explosion was audible in the stadium right before half time.

And, astonishingly, as shootings erupted in Paris itself and the stadium was locked down, the two teams kept playing. They finished the match — which France won, 2-0, with one goal scored right around the time of the first explosion and another right before the game ended.

"We're hearing some fairly worrisome news," Le Monde noted on its live-blog of the game, 47 minutes into the match. A minute later: "The game started back up as if nothing had happened."

Ten minutes of play later, the stadium was locked down. Spectators were not allowed to leave, and no one was allowed to enter. After the match, spectators amassed on the field while waiting to evacuate. This was the scene in the stadium:

It was indeed a surreal scene.

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