Victor Lindelöf has said it was the players who made the decision to abandon the Euro 2024 qualifier against Belgium after they were told that two Swedish fans had been shot dead in Brussels before the game.
The attack on the supporters happened before the game at the King Baudouin Stadium, which kicked off at 8.45pm local time, but the players were not informed of the incident until half-time, at which point Lindelöf, Sweden’s captain, felt it was impossible to carry on.
“I tried to talk to all the players about how they felt,” the Manchester United defender said. “And then I felt that I wanted to speak to the Belgian players. I explained the situation and we were very clear that we did not want to carry on and they completely understood that.”
The game was abandoned after a short delay but fans were told that they would be safer inside the stadium for the time being. They were then let out after several hours. Lindelöf added: “There are players who had family and friends here and we wanted to look after our fans. Those who had family and friends here wanted to make contact with them to see if they were OK. People were worried but our security team handled it very well.”
The Sweden coach, Janne Andersson, who will leave his post after the team failed to qualify for the European Championship in Germany next year, said: “We came down to our dressing room at half-time and were given this information and I felt straight away that this is completely unreal. What kind of a world are we living in today? I feel incredibly sad.
“When the group started to talk about this we agreed 100% that we did not want to play the game, out of respect for the victims and their families.”
Lindelöf and Andersson said there would not be much point in playing the second half at a later date. “It doesn’t matter,” Andersson said. “If something had rested on this game … but as far as we are concerned we’re out and it feels like we shouldn’t be playing football when these kind of things are happening in the world.” Lindelöf added: “I agree with Janne. I don’t think there is any point to finish this game.”
Uefa released a statement on Monday night saying the game had been abandoned and that “further communication will be made in due course”.