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SWEDEN

Sweden captain Victor Lindelof ‘devastated’ after attack in Brussels

Swedish players told UEFA they did not want to play the second half of the match in Brussels and the Belgian team agreed.

Update:
Brussels (Belgium), 16/10/2023.- Victor Lindelof of Sweden in action against Romelu Lukaku of Belgium during the UEFA EURO 2024 group F qualification round match between Belgium and Sweden in Brussels, Belgium, 16 October 2023. (Bélgica, Suecia, Bruselas, Roma) EFE/EPA/OLIVIER MATTHYS
OLIVIER MATTHYSEFE

Sweden captain Victor Lindelof has opened up on the killing of two Swedish nationals in Brussels on Monday ahead of their Euro 2024 qualifier against Belgium.

The match in the Belgian capital was abandoned at half-time after teams were informed that a gunman had killed two people three miles from the Roi Baudouin Stadium.

Swedish players told UEFA they did not want to play the second half of the match and the Belgian team agreed, according to Swedish broadcaster TV6.

It was not until around 4 a.m. local time when the remaining Sweden fans left under police protection, with a group of around 650 believed to have been at the match.

Lindelof reacts to deaths

Belgian media outlets report that the two people killed were wearing soccer shirts of the Swedish national team.

In a post on Instagram, Manchester United defender Lindelof said: “I’m shocked and devastated by the terrible incidents in Brussels with the cold-hearted attacks on our fellow Swedes.

“I’m lost for words for the cruelty and inhumanity, I want to send my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those affected.

“At the same time, my thoughts go out to all the supporters in Belgium last night, no one should ever go to a game of football and feel unsafe when supporting their team.”

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo went on social media to offer his “sincere condolences to the Swedish PM following tonight’s harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels”.

A police officer stands guard outside the King Baudouin Stadium following the Euro 2024 qualifying football match between Belgium and Sweden in Brussels on October 16, 2023, after two Swedes were shot dead in an attack in Brussels.
Full screen
A police officer stands guard outside the King Baudouin Stadium following the Euro 2024 qualifying football match between Belgium and Sweden in Brussels on October 16, 2023, after two Swedes were shot dead in an attack in Brussels. JOHN THYSAFP

Fans held in hotels

Chairperson of supporters’ group Camp Sweden, Susanne Petersson, told Reuters that fans were held in hotels overnight before going home on Tuesday.

“We were uneasy and confused, it was difficult to understand what had happened,” Petersson said.

“If it was aimed at Swedish people or if it was just Swedes that had ended up in something. We had contact with the police before we gathered (in Brussels), and we didn’t feel particularly unsafe at that point, but then questions started to come on social media and we understood that something had happened.

“I was one of the last to leave as they had to organise it with police and buses so that it would be safe for us to leave. They provided buses and had routes that delivered everyone to their respective hotels, and the police went in with them to each hotel.”