Belgium and Sweden’s Euro 2024 qualifier was canceled at halftime due to a tragic incident in Brussels. Two individuals were shot and killed before the match began, leading UEFA to declare it a “suspected terrorist attack.”
Belgian authorities raised the terror alert to the highest level in the capital, with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo describing the event as a “brutal terrorist attack.”
The incident occurred just 45 minutes before the scheduled kickoff and about three miles from the stadium. It is unclear if the victims were in Brussels to watch the game, but reports suggest they were wearing Swedish football jerseys.
The match was tied 1-1 at halftime when it was suspended, and fans were asked to stay in the King Baudouin Stadium until security conditions allowed them to leave. Chants of unity echoed through the stadium as fans, both Belgian and Swedish, waited together. However, the gunman responsible for the attack remains at large.
Sweden’s coach, Janne Andersson, confirmed that the team was informed about the incident at halftime and collectively decided not to continue the match. Victor Lindelof, a defender for Manchester United and Sweden, emphasized the importance of the supporters’ safety and echoed the decision not to continue playing.
Both the Swedish and Belgian football associations expressed their sympathies and concerns for those affected by the tragedy.
The city of Brussels is in shock, and authorities are actively searching for the assailant. The incident has elevated the terror alert in Belgium, with citizens advised to stay home, and France has tightened its border controls as a precaution.
While there are unverified reports claiming the attacker pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, the investigation is ongoing.