After the fatal shots at two Swedes in Brussels, the qualifying game for the European Football Championship between Belgium and Sweden has been canceled. The two football associations involved announced this on Monday evening on X, formerly Twitter. Spectators in the stadium were asked to remain in their seats. "The Belgian police want Swedish fans to stay in the arena for security reasons," the association wrote.
Earlier in the evening, a previously unknown perpetrator shot two people in Brussels. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed that it was Sweden. “Our thoughts are with all the relatives of those affected in Brussels,” wrote the Swedish association. It was initially unclear whether the dead were football supporters. “Our thoughts are with everyone affected,” wrote the Belgian Football Association.
After 45 minutes, the game at the King Baudouin Stadium was 1-1 after goals from Viktor Gyekres (15th minute) for the Scandinavians and Romelo Lukaku (31st) for the hosts. At halftime the news of the deaths of the two Swedes spread. According to the Swedish TV broadcaster SVT, the Sweden national team players then decided not to continue the game. The Belgian national players would have joined in.
It was initially unclear whether and when the game would continue. As leaders of Group F, Belgium had already qualified for next year's European Championships in Germany, as had second-placed Austria.
Around 20 minutes after the game was supposed to have kicked off for the second half, the game was canceled over the stadium loudspeakers. In the stands you could see numerous Swedish fans talking on the phone or talking with sad faces. According to SVT, the team and supporters had to stay in the stadium for security reasons because the alleged perpetrator had not yet been caught. “Stay calm and look after each other,” wrote the Swedish Football Association.
Late in the evening, the European Football Union officially confirmed the cancellation of the qualifying game. After consultation with both teams and the local police authorities, the decision was made to cancel the game, the continental association said. Further communications would be made in due course.
Note: This article has been updated.