Belgium vs Sweden Match Halted Following Tragic Shooting Incident in Brussels
Euro 2024 Qualifier Between Belgium and Sweden Halted and Abandoned Due to Fatal Shooting Incident
The Euro 2024 qualifier match between Belgium and Sweden took a tragic turn as it was suspended at halftime and ultimately abandoned. This decision came in the wake of a devastating shooting incident that claimed the lives of two Swedes in Brussels on Monday. UEFA made the announcement regarding this unfortunate turn of events.
Belgium responded to this crisis by elevating its terror alert to the highest level. The heightened state of alert was prompted by a video circulating on social media in which an individual claimed responsibility for the attack, citing affiliation with Islamic State.
"Following a suspected terrorist attack in Brussels this evening, it has been decided after consultation with the two teams and the local police authorities, that the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying match between Belgium and Sweden is abandoned," UEFA said in a statement on its website.
During the match, Swedish journalists received word of the tragic incident just prior to the national anthems. In response, Sweden's players conveyed their reluctance to continue with the second half of the game, a sentiment that received agreement from their Belgian counterparts. This information was relayed by Swedish broadcaster TV6.
At the point of suspension, the score was evenly balanced at 1-1, and Sweden's fans were requested to remain within the stadium premises.
"Arrangements to safely escort supporters from the Belgium-Sweden match out of the stadium are being examined," Crisis Centre Belgium said in a post on social media platform X.
"Supporters will be given more information at the stadium. Please follow the instructions of the emergency services."
The two victims were reported to have been wearing Sweden shirts when they were shot, according to Swedish media.
"I feel completely shocked," Sweden fan Pernilla Califf told the Aftonbladet newspaper. "We don't understand anything. Everyone is taking off their Swedish shirts and changing into neutral clothes. This is really unpleasant"
Sweden coach Janne Andersson told a press conference that they had asked not to carry on with the match.
"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 told reporters.
"I came into the locker room and when the team started talking we agreed 100 percent that we didn't want to play on out of respect for the victims and their families."
Sweden captain Victor Lindelof told the press conference that the players never felt in any danger.
"Our security team handled it well and put us at ease. They explained that this is the safest place to be in Brussels," he 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," Lindelof added.
some information gotten from www.reuters.com