Belgium vs Sweden abandoned as two fans shot dead in ‘terrorist attack’

Belgium’s Euro 2024 qualifier with Sweden was abandoned at half-time after a suspected terrorist attack before the match saw two visiting fans shot and killed. The players decided that they did not want to continue after learning of the shooting in Brussels. 

An announcement was made over the stadium tannoy informing fans of the decision to abandon the game. Spectators inside the  King Baudouin Stadium were told they could not leave the arena “until security permits”. 

Two people are reported to have been shot in Brussels, five miles from the stadium. Belgium’s prime minister has confirmed that the victims were Swedish nationals. 

Romelu Lukaku had cancelled out Sweden striker Viktor Gyokeres’ early strike. But with the players having returned to their dressing rooms, fans were informed: “The players decided they do not want to continue the game, because of what happened earlier today in Brussels.”

The announcement was made in English, French, Dutch and Swedish. It earned applause from the crowd. 

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A UEFA statement read: “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. Further communication will be made in due course.”

The Belgian Football Association said before the match was eventually suspended: “Due to the incidents in Brussels earlier tonight, play is suspended. Our thoughts are with all those affected.”

“Our thoughts go out to all the relatives of those affected in Brussels,” the Swedish FA wrote in their own statement. 

It is reported by international media that the two victims were wearing the shirt of the Swedish football team. The gunman remains on the loose.

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Belgium PM De Croo wrote on the social media platform X: “I have just offered my sincere condolences to @SwedishPM 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.”

Prosecutors say they are treating the incident as terrorism. Belgium’s National Crisis Centre raised the terror alert in Brussels to the highest level on Monday night. It has been moved to the second highest for the rest of Belgium.

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