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  • Belgium V Sweden Abandoned At Half Time After Suspected Terrorist Attack

Belgium v Sweden abandoned at half-time after suspected terrorist attack

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

After Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed the victims in Monday’s shooting were Swedish, the decision was taken to call off the game at the King Baudouin Stadium.

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.

The Swedish Football Association had announced supporters should stay in the stadium on police advice “for security reasons” and co-operate with the authorities on site.

Fans were kept in the stadium for more than two hours before a message on the stadium screen asked them to leave “calmly”.

Sweden manager Janne Andersson said the players had asked for the game to be abandoned when they heard about the shooting.

“I felt it was completely unreal,” he told a press conference. “What kind of world do we live in today? I was supposed to have a good chat with the players but I heard it and almost started crying.

“When the team started talking, we agreed 100 per cent that we didn’t want to play on out of respect for the victims and their families.”

Sweden captain and Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof said security put the team “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.”

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, Belgium’s Prime Minister De Croo wrote on his social media: “My deepest condolences to the relatives of this cowardly attack in Brussels.

“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.”

Belgium’s National Crisis Centre said the terror alert was being raised to its highest level in the capital – the threat very serious and imminent – and increased to serious across the country.

The BNCC confirmed arrangements to safely escort supporters from the King Baudouin Stadium were “being examined” and urged fans to follow the instructions of the emergency services.

Shortly before 11pm (BST), the BNCC announced the stadium was now being “evacuated” and stressed everyone should “return home immediately”.

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