Before the Belgium vs. Sweden fixture was played at King Baudouin Stadium, the Red Devils have already booked their place in the Finals summer next year. Hence, spectators were looking forward to see who will join them in Germany from Group F of the 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers, until a tragedy broke out moments before the game. Two fans from the Swedish camp were shot dead on a Brussels street 45 minutes before the kickoff of the Belgium vs. Sweden game and about 5km from the venue, with authorities believing that the incident was caused by a suspected Tunisian extremist and a member of the Islamic State, who is now claimed to have been found and shot dead.
Suspect of the Shooting Incident Before the Belgium vs. Sweden Game Found and Shot Dead
The incident, believed to be related to terrorism, involved a man wearing an orange fluorescent vest pull up on a scooter. The person then pulled out a big weapon to shoot two Sweden internationals and wound a taxi driver, who is currently not in life-threatening situations as well as recovering from injuries. According to authorities, the two Swedish were wearing the Sweden national football team jersey for the purpose of attending the Belgium vs. Sweden game at King Baudouin Stadium.
In light of the incident prior to the kickoff of the Belgium vs. Sweden match, Annelies Verlinden, Minister of the Interior, Institutional Reform and Democratic Renewal of Belgium, confirmed that the suspect, 45-year-old Tunisian Abdesalem Al Guilani has been found and shot dead, with a weapon also recovered during the process. Prior to his death during the capture process for the shooting incident before the Belgium vs. Sweden game, Abdesalem Al Guilani identified himself as a member of the notorious Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and claimed responsibility in a posted video. In that video, the 45-year-old also highlighted himself as a fighter for Allah.
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President De Croo’s Statement
Mr. Alexander De Croo, president of Belgium, addressed the shooting incident happened before the Belgium vs. Sweden game via a few statements, with one of them stating “Last night three people left for what was supposed to be a wonderful soccer party. The perpetrator targeted specifically Swedish supporters who were in Brussels to attend a Red Devils soccer match. Two Swedish compatriots passed away. A third person is recovering from severe injures.”
The 47-year-old also added that he has sent his condolences to his Swedish counterpart, Mr. Ulf Kristersson: “My deepest condolences to the relatives of this cowardly attack in Brussels. I have just offered my sincere condolences to Swedish PM following tonight’s harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels. Our thoughts are with the families and friends who lost their loved ones. As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one.”
I have just offered my sincere condolences to @SwedishPM following tonight’s harrowing attack on Swedish citizens in Brussels.
Our thoughts are with the families and friends who lost their loved ones.
As close partners the fight against terrorism is a joint one.
— Alexander De Croo 🇧🇪🇪🇺 (@alexanderdecroo) October 16, 2023
Match Abandoned After the First Half
Both teams from the Belgium vs. Sweden game only knew about the shooting incident during the half-time break, in which players from the visiting Swedish side, led by captain and Manchester United centre-back Victor Lindelöf, decided to persuade manager Janne Andersson to abandon the match. The Belgium camp then echoed Sweden’s move and decided to abandon the game as well, leaving it with the score of 1-1 after 45 minutes of play.
The 29-year-old Lindelöf spoke about the team’s arrangement in the second half, stating: “They (Belgian authorities) explained that this is the safest place to be in Brussels. Belgium are already qualified and we don’t have the opportunity to get to the European Championship, so I see no reason to play.”
The Swedish captain’s sentiments were supported by his manager Andersson, who said: “When I came down for the break, I got this information. 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 percent that we didn’t want to play on out of respect for the victims and their families.”
Big Rom in Top 10 Goal Scorers for Men’s International Football
The Belgium vs. Sweden fell on Matchday 8 of the 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers, where the Red Devils hosted the Blue and Yellow at their home of King Baudouin Stadium. The already-qualified hosts fell behind in the opening 15 minutes, when 25-year-old Sporting CP forward Viktor Gyökeres put the ball into the back of the net. Domenico Tedesco’s men then equalised through Romelu Lukaku’s penalty seconds after the half-hour mark. The goal was Big Rom’s 78th international tally in 111 games for Belgium, allowing him to break into the top 10 international men’s football goal scorers as a result.
Apart from Romelu Lukaku’s heroics in the Belgium vs. Sweden game, another player who broke new records were Portugal and Al-Nassr captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who netted his 126th and 127th international goals when Portugal took on Bosnia and Herzegovina at Bilino Polje. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s brace last night meant he has attained the 40-goal mark in the current calendar year, making him to surpass Norway’s and Manchester City’s Erling Haaland as the undisputed top scorer in 2023. The achievement was further translated into the 12th time he has broken the 40-goal mark for club and country in a calendar year, and we have the full details in this article. Check it out now.