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Sweden captain Victor Lindelof calls for their match with Belgium NOT to restart after ‘ISIS gunman’ targeted and killed two Swedish fans, with players flying home overnight after they refused to play


Sweden captain Victor Lindelof has called for his country’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Belgium not to be finished after two Swedish supporters were shot dead in a suspected terrorist attack in Brussels on Monday night. 

The match at the King Baudouin Stadium was abandoned at half-time after the pair, reported to be wearing Sweden shirts, were gunned down in the city before the game.

Swedish supporters were locked inside the stadium until 4am, while Swedish players were taken to the airport under police escort.

The score was 1-1 at the time the game was abandoned. Viktor Gyokeres gave Sweden a 15th-minute lead, but Romelu Lukaku had Belgium level just after the half-hour. 

And Lindelof insisted there was ‘no reason to finish the match’, given Belgium have already qualified for Euro 2024, while Sweden cannot mathematically do so.

Victor Lindelof has called for his country's Euro 2024 qualifier against Belgium not to be finished after two Swedish supporters were shot dead

Victor Lindelof has called for his country’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Belgium not to be finished after two Swedish supporters were shot dead

The Euro 2024 qualifier in Brussels was abandoned at half-time on Monday night

The Euro 2024 qualifier in Brussels was abandoned at half-time on Monday night

Terrified Belgian and Swedish supporters were locked inside the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Monday after two fans were shot dead. The match was abandoned at half-time

Swedish supporters were kept in the stadium until 4am by Belgian police following the attack

Concerned supporters embraced each other during the terrifying experience as Belgian authorities locked all fans inside the stadium for their own safety in the aftermath of the attack

Concerned supporters embraced each other during the terrifying experience as Belgian authorities locked all fans inside the stadium for their own safety in the aftermath of the attack

Romelu Lukaku and his Belgium teammates left the ground on their own after the suspension

Romelu Lukaku and his Belgium teammates left the ground on their own after the suspension

‘Belgium are already qualified and we don’t have the opportunity to get to the European Championship, so I see no reason to play [replay the game],’ the Manchester United defender said.

Belgian FA CEO Manu Leroy revealed news of the attack filtered through before the game, but the Euro 2024 qualifier was allowed to kick-off after police and security services were consulted.

‘Ten minutes before the match, reports started coming in about what had happened around the stadium,’ he said.

‘In consultation with the security and order services, it was then announced whether we could start the match.’

Leroy also explained the decision to abandon the game was taken after Lindelof communicated Sweden’s players did not want to play in the second half.

‘After the first half, the captain of Sweden announced that they did not want to start the second half,’ Leroy added.

‘Then it was important to discuss with the police how we could best evacuate the stadium. 

‘The decision was made at the highest level at 11.45 pm.

‘Stand by stand we looked at how we could best lead the people out. The Swedish fans received a police escort, the players left under police escort to the airport to fly back to their home country.’ 

Sweden head coach Janne Andersson revealed to reporters after the match was suspended that he and his team were determined not to play out of respect for the victims.

‘When I came down for the break, I got this information,’ he said. ‘Immediately, I felt that it was completely unreal. What kind of world do we live in today?

‘I came into the locker room and 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 manager Janne Anderson (middle) spoke to the media shortly after the game was abandoned

Sweden manager Janne Anderson (middle) spoke to the media shortly after the game was abandoned

Emil Holm and his teammates were given a police escort to the airport on Monday night

Emil Holm and his teammates were given a police escort to the airport on Monday night

Police at the King Baudouin Stadium patrolled Swedish fans until it was safe for them to leave

Police at the King Baudouin Stadium patrolled Swedish fans until it was safe for them to leave

Asked whether the match will resume at a later date or whether it may be replayed from the start, Leroy replied: ‘Only time will tell. It is surreal what happened. The players quickly knew at half time that the situation was serious, but first we had to get confirmation of the facts. 

‘As for the Belgian players: Everyone was allowed to leave as agreed. Some went home, others to the players’ hotel.’

Amid distressing scenes, UEFA released a statement confirming the cancellation, which happened at half-time during the clash at the King Baudouin Stadium. Swedish fans were asked to stay in the ground for their own safety. 

It read: ‘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. Further communication will be made in due course.’ 

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday morning, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said the motive behind the attack was that the victims were Swedish. 

‘Last night three people left for what was supposed to be a wonderful football party. Two of them lost their lives in a brutal terrorist attack’ he said.

A third Swedish fan is also believed to be seriously injured - as the alleged attacker claimed to be a member of ISIS seeking to avenge the killing of a six-year-old US-Palestinian boy

A third Swedish fan is also believed to be seriously injured – as the alleged attacker claimed to be a member of ISIS seeking to avenge the killing of a six-year-old US-Palestinian boy

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said the motive behind the attack was that the victims were Swedish

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said the motive behind the attack was that the victims were Swedish

Local authorities in Brussels are treating the attack as terrorism-related

Local authorities in Brussels are treating the attack as terrorism-related 

A map shows the location of the killing in Brussels city centre and that of the King Baudouin Stadium in the city's northwestern suburbs - 35,000 supporters were in attendance

A map shows the location of the killing in Brussels city centre and that of the King Baudouin Stadium in the city’s northwestern suburbs – 35,000 supporters were in attendance

Players, fans and match officials observed a minute's silence prior to match on Monday night

Players, fans and match officials observed a minute’s silence prior to match on Monday night

‘The perpetrator targeted specifically Swedish supporters who were in Brussels to attend the match against Belgium.

‘Two Swedish fans have passed away. A third person is recovering from severe injures.’ 

Belgian Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told the news conference the suspect was a 45-year-old Tunisian man who sought asylum in Belgium in November 2019 and was known to police over people smuggling and illegal residence in Belgium.

Police are still searching for him.

A video posted online featured a fluorescent-jacketed man claiming a link to Islamic State saying in Arabic that he had carried out a ‘revenge attack’.

In it, he boasted that he had killed ‘infidels’ while earlier in the day he had posted on Facebook referring to the stabbing in the US of a Palestinian boy, by his mother’s landlord.



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