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16 October 2023

Belgium v Sweden abandoned at half-time after two people shot dead in Brussels

16 October 2023

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

Following the shootings on Monday evening, which the authorities are treating as terrorism, with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo later confirming the victims were Swedish, the decision was taken to call off the game at the King Baudouin Stadium.

“Due to the incidents in Brussels earlier tonight, play is suspended. Our thoughts are with all those affected,” a post from the Belgian national team read on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Reports have suggested players from both teams decided during half-time the game should not continue. The score was 1-1 at the time. Viktor Gyokeres gave Sweden a 15th-minute lead, but Romelu Lukaku had Belgium level just after the half-hour.

A post from the Swedish FA read: “Message to Swedish supporters on site in Brussels: The Belgian police want Swedish supporters to stay in the arena for security reasons. Take part in information from officials, authorities and SvFF (Swedish Football Association) staff on site.

“We will return when the Belgian authorities provide us with new information. Keep calm and take care of each other. Our thoughts go out to all the relatives of those affected in Brussels.”

Governing body UEFA confirmed the Group F match had been abandoned following consultation with both teams and local police.

“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,” a statement from UEFA read.

“Further communication will be made in due course.”

Following the shooting on the Boulevard d’Ypres, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed the victims were Swedish.

“My deepest condolences to the relatives of this cowardly attack in Brussels,” he wrote on social media.

“I have just offered my sincere condolences to Swedish PM following tonight’s harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels.

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

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