Belgium v Sweden: Euro 2024 qualifier abandoned after Brussels shooting

16 October 2023 0 By Total Football News

Sweden fansFans of both teams were instructed by Belgian police to stay inside the stadium for their own safety – with an evacuation starting about 75 minutes after the abandonment was confirmed

Belgium’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Sweden was abandoned at half-time for security reasons after two Swedish people were shot dead in Brussels.

The killings happened in the city hours before the game and are being treated as terrorism. The gunman is at large.

The decision to abandon the game was confirmed at about 21:30 BST.

Fans and players were ordered to stay in the King Baudouin Stadium for their own safety, before an evacuation began at about 22:45 BST.

The Sweden team were given a police escort to the airport, while Sweden fans were accompanied by the police into the city.

Sweden boss Janne Andersson said he and the players only found out about the shooting at half-time.

“When I came down for the break, I got this information. Immediately, I felt that it was completely unreal. What kind of world do we live in today?” he said.

“I came into the locker room and when the team started talking, we agreed 100% that we didn’t want to play on out of respect for the victims and their families.”

It is not yet known whether the victims were in Brussels to watch the Euro 2024 qualifier.

Fans leaving the stadiumFans were told to return home immediately after leaving the stadium

A Swedish FA social media post said: “Our thoughts go out to all the relatives of those affected in Brussels.”

The Belgian national team’s account posted a statement that read: “Our thoughts are with all those affected.”

A video posted on social media showed an Arabic-speaking man claiming he carried out the attack in the name of God.

Following the shooting on Boulevard d’Ypres, which happened at around 18:00 BST (19:00 local time), police and emergency services cordoned off nearby roads.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo “offered my sincere condolences to the Swedish PM following tonight’s harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels”.

He added: “Our thoughts are with the families and friends who lost their loved ones. As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one.”

The game was 1-1 when it was abandoned.

Sweden captain Victor Lindelof said: “Belgium are already qualified and we don’t have the opportunity to get to the European Championship, so I see no reason to play [replay the game].”