Sports

Brussels Shooting: Belgium Vs Sweden Match In UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifiers Abandoned After Two Swedes Shot Dead

The fatal shooting happened hours before the UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifiers game between Belgium and Sweden in Brussels, but the decision to call off the match was taken only at half-time. The assault rifle-armed gunman remains at large

Action during the first half in the abandoned Belgium vs Sweden game in Brussels.
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The killing of two Swedish people in the city of Brussels forced the midway abandonment of the European Championship 2024 Qualifiers Group F match between Belgium and Sweden at the King Baudouin Stadium on Tuesday. The match was tied 1-1 at half-time (Sweden's Viktor Gyokeres and Belgium's Romelu Lukaku the goal-scorers), when the authorities decided to abandon the game due to security reasons. The fatal shooting of the two Swedes, which Belgium prime minister Alexander De Croo said was linked to terrorism, happened hours before the game, but the decision to call off the match was taken only at half-time. Players and spectators were instructed to stay within the stadium for the sake of their own safety for about 75 minutes after the announcement. (Sports News)

The Sweden men's football team were whisked away by Brussels police to the airport, while Swedish spectators were escorted by the police into the city. It has not yet been ascertained whether one or both of the Swedish victims were in Brussels to watch the Euro qualifying match. 

Sweden coach Janne Andersson said him and the team only learnt out about the shooting at half-time. "When I came down for the break, I got this information. Immediately, I felt that it was completely unreal. What kind of world do we live in today?" Andersson said. 

Media reports aired amateur videos showing a man shooting several times near a station using a large weapon. The assault rifle-armed gunman remains at large.

Meanwhile, Belgian authorities raised the terror alert to its highest level in the capital after the shooting incident, and PM De Croo convened an emergency meeting of senior cabinet ministers. 

“I have just offered my sincere condolences to @SwedishPM following tonight's harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels," De Croo said. He added on X (formerly Twitter), “As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one.”

The shooting comes at a time of increased vigilance linked to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war that has heightened tension in many European countries. At the same time, the Belgian capital has been the scene of increased violence linked to rising international drug trafficking.

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