PARIS: Belgium’s Euro 2024 Group F qualifier against Sweden was abandoned at halftime and fans were kept in the stadium for security reasons after two Swedes were shot dead in an attack in Brussels on Monday.
Supporters at the King Baudouin stadium in the Belgian capital were told to remain inside the ground following an announcement that the players would not return for the second half.
“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,” UEFA said on its website.
Sweden’s football association said Belgian police had told supporters “to stay in the arena for security reasons.”
Two Swedish nationals were shot dead by a suspect who remains at large, in an attack the Belgian prime minister described as “terrorism.”
Several Belgian media outlets said the two individuals killed were wearing the jersey of the Sweden national team.
Belgium, who had already qualified for next year’s tournament, had equalized through a Romelu Lukaku penalty after Viktor Gyokeres opened the scoring for Sweden before the match was halted with the score at 1-1.
Belgian media reported that the Swedish players did not want to continue the game after learning of the attack.
Austria had earlier Monday become the eighth team to book their place at next year’s finals in Germany courtesy of a 1-0 win in Azerbaijan in the other Group F game.
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Marcel Sabitzer scored a penalty three minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute for Ralf Rangnick’s side.
Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice as Portugal thrashed Bosnia and Herzegovina 5-0 to maintain their perfect record in Group J.
Ronaldo, 38, extended his men’s record international goals tally to 127 after an early penalty was followed by a deft chip that doubled the lead for Portugal in Zenica.
Bruno Fernandes hammered in a third and Joao Cancelo supplied a brilliant finish of his own, with Joao Felix making it five before half-time.
Portugal clinched first place with two games remaining and have scored 32 times and conceded just twice — both in Friday’s 3-2 win over Slovakia which secured qualification.
Slovakia solidified their grip on second place with a 1-0 victory in Luxembourg.
Gylfi Sigurdsson scored twice for Iceland as they stayed in contention with a 4-0 rout of Liechtenstein.
Virgil van Dijk converted a stoppage-time penalty to earn the Netherlands a crucial 1-0 victory away to Greece in Group B.
Wout Weghorst had a first-half spot-kick saved for the Dutch in Athens, but Liverpool defender Van Dijk made no mistake after a foul on Denzel Dumfries.
The Netherlands drew level on 12 points with Greece and have the head-to-head advantage after beating them home and away. Ronald Koeman’s team also have a game in hand on their rivals as they bid to wrap up second behind group winners France.
Brighton’s rising 18-year-old star Evan Ferguson was among the scorers as the Republic of Ireland dispatched Gibraltar 4-0 in Portugal.