A tragic shooting of two Swedes in Brussels on Monday evening led to the grim interruption and subsequent abandonment of Belgium’s Euro 2024 qualifier match against Sweden at halftime.
In response to the incident, Belgium escalated its terror alert to the highest level after a video on social media depicted a man claiming to be the assailant, asserting his affiliation with the Islamic State.
Uefa, in consultation with both teams and local law enforcement, took the decision to abandon the Uefa Euro 2024 qualifier match between Belgium and Sweden following the suspected terrorist attack in Brussels.
Swedish journalists at the stadium received news of the attack just prior to the playing of the national anthems. The players from both teams unanimously conveyed to Uefa their reluctance to continue the match into the second half. The score was level at 1-1, as Viktor Gyökeres gave Sweden an early 15th-minute lead, and Romelu Lukaku equalized for Belgium.
Janne Andersson, Sweden’s manager, stated, “The team unanimously agreed not to resume play out of respect for the victims and their families.”
After the match suspension, Crisis Centre Belgium assessed security arrangements to ensure the safe exit of Swedish supporters, instructing them to remain inside the stadium.
Reports indicated that the tragic victims wore Sweden shirts when they were shot. A distressing sight that deeply shocked and unsettled fans, prompting some to change out of their Swedish attire.
Belgium had already secured a spot in the 2024 finals in Germany, whereas Sweden’s prospects suffered a setback due to Austria’s 1-0 victory over Azerbaijan earlier that day.
In the aftermath of the shooting on Boulevard d’Ypres, Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed that the victims were Swedish. He expressed his condolences and emphasized the shared commitment to combating terrorism between the two nations.
Uefa indicated that it would provide further updates on the situation in due course.