Swedish national coach Janne Andersson revealed that he and his players have asked to abandon Monday’s European Championship qualifier against Belgium after learning of the terrorist incident in Brussels at half-time.
Two football fans wearing Swedish shirts were shot dead by a terrorist who claims he carried out the attack on behalf of ISIS in response to the murder of an American-Palestinian child.
The gunman remains at large after allegedly committing the atrocity which took place five kilometers away from the stadium where more than 35,000 fans were present to watch the Euro 2024 qualifier.
On X there was a message from the Belgian national team: ‘Due to the incidents in Brussels earlier this evening, the game has been suspended. Our thoughts are with all those affected.’
Players at the King Baudouin Stadium were consulted about the terror attack at half-time, with the score at 1-1. The Swedish manager explained that there was a general consensus not to continue playing ‘out of respect for the victims and their families’.
Sweden head coach Janne Andersson explained that he felt it was the right decision to abandon Monday’s match against Belgium after two supporters were killed in a suspected terror attack
Man United and Sweden defender Victor Lindelof (left) revealed that security put players at ease
Players from both teams had to wait for permission to leave the stadium on Monday
Fans hugged each other during the terrifying moments as Belgian authorities locked them in the stadium for their own safety
During a press conference, Andersson explained: ‘When I came for the break, I got this information. I immediately felt that it was completely surreal. What kind of world do we live in today?’ he said.
“I came into the locker room and when the team started talking, we were 100 percent in agreement that we did not want to continue playing, out of respect for the victims and their families.”
Supporters have been detained at the stadium as the search intensifies for the alleged gunman who used the name ‘Slayem Slouma’ to boast about the killings in a Facebook video.
Police confirmed that the man in the video – wearing an orange jacket, black scarf, yellow baseball cap and heavy black beard – was the one they were looking for in connection with the attack.
Police in the city of Brussels continue to search for the gunman who killed two people
Supporters of both teams were kept inside the King Baudouin Stadium for their safety
Police at the scene of a shooting incident on Ieperlaan in Brussels
Supporters in the ground consoled each other as they nervously waited for news of further developments, with Brussels in response raising its terror alert to the highest level: level 4.
Swedish captain and Manchester United centre-back Victor Lindelof further explained that the players were put at ease by security, who told the team that the stadium was the ‘safest place to be’.
‘Our security team handled it well and made us feel at ease. They explained that this is the safest place in Brussels,” he said.
“Belgium is already qualified and we don’t have the chance to go to the European Championships, so I see no reason to play,” Lindelof added.