Euro 2024 Qualifier Fatal Shooting Halts Belgium vs. Sweden Match in Brussels

The Euro 2024 qualifier between Belgium and Sweden was halted midway following a tragic shooting incident in Brussels. Two fatalities occurred before kick-off, prompting Belgian authorities to elevate the capital’s terror alert to its maximum level. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo characterized the incident as a “brutal terrorist attack.

The Euro 2024 qualifier between Belgium and Sweden was abandoned at half-time following a tragic shooting incident in Brussels, resulting in two fatalities. UEFA confirmed the abandonment, attributing it to a “suspected terrorist attack.” Belgian authorities heightened the terror alert in the capital to its maximum level, and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo labeled the incident a “brutal terrorist attack.

Credit By: skysports.com

De Croo expressed, “Last night, three individuals embarked on what was meant to be an enjoyable soccer celebration.” He noted, “The assailant specifically aimed at Swedish supporters gathered in Brussels for a Red Devils soccer match. Tragically, two Swedish compatriots lost their lives, while a third person is recuperating from severe injuries,” De Croo conveyed.

Credit By: skysports.com

A self-identified member of the Islamic State claimed responsibility in an online video for the shooting that occurred approximately 45 minutes before the kick-off, situated three miles (5km) away from the stadium. The purpose of the victims’ presence in Brussels is uncertain, although reports suggest they were wearing Swedish football shirts.

Credit By: skysports.com

The match was halted at half-time with a 1-1 score, instructing fans to stay in the King Baudouin Stadium “until security permits them to leave.” Amidst chants of “All together, All together” and a resounding “Sweden, Sweden!” from thousands on both sides, the 35,000 supporters were finally allowed to exit in groups just past midnight local time. Notably, the gunman responsible for the incident remains at large.

Credit By: skysports.com

Following the game, Sweden coach Janne Andersson disclosed that they were informed of the incident during half-time and collectively opted against proceeding with the match. He stated, “Everyone was deeply saddened, and all the players unanimously agreed not to continue.” Victor Lindelof, the Manchester United and Sweden defender, elaborated, “We deliberated with both teams, and the decision was not to resume the match. The paramount concern is the safety of the supporters now.

Credit By: skysports.com

A message from the Swedish FA on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) stated: “Stay calm and support one another. Our condolences extend to all the families affected in Brussels.” Likewise, the Belgian national FA expressed, “Our sympathies are with all those impacted.

Credit By: skysports.com

Belgium Raises Terror Alert to Maximum Level” Reporting from Brussels, Sky News’ Adam Parsons states, “The city is in a state of profound shock. Around 7:15 PM, a man wearing a hi-vis orange jacket entered a building with a Kalashnikov rifle, resulting in the tragic deaths of two individuals and at least one other person injured.”

Credit By: skysports.com

The perpetrator remains at large as the police continue their search. Belgium has swiftly elevated its terror level to the maximum, urging people to stay home. France, concerned about the situation, has reinforced its border controls. Unverified videos circulating on social media purportedly show the individual claiming allegiance to the Islamic State and explicitly stating responsibility for the killing of Swedish individuals.

Reference:

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2023/oct/16/euro-2024-qualifier-between-belgium-and-sweden-abandoned-after-shooting

https://www.espn.com/soccer/story/_/id/38674467/belgium-sweden-euro-qualifier-abandoned-shooting

Leave a Comment