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Available on  gplay  » Sports » Austria seal Euro 2024 place as Belgium-Sweden abandoned

Austria seal Euro 2024 place as Belgium-Sweden abandoned

October 17, 2023 10:58 IST
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IMAGE: Austria players celebrate after the match. Photograph: Aziz Karimov/Reuters

Austria sealed a place at Euro 2024 on Monday but Sweden missed out on the finals for the first time in 28 years on a night in which their fixture with Belgium was abandoned at halftime after two Swedish nationals were shot dead in Brussels.

Austria’s 1-0 victory over Azerbaijan, earned via a second half penalty from substitute Marcel Sabitzer following Rahil Mammadov’s handball, was enough to book a ticket for next year's tournament in Germany at the expense of the Swedes.

Sweden's fixture with Belgium was not completed after two people, who local media reported were Swedish supporters, were fatally shot in the vicinity of the stadium.

Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level as a man in a video on social media claimed that he was the assailant and that he was from Islamic State.


With the score at 1-1 at halftime in the Group F game, the Swedes requested that the match be abandoned.

Viktor Gyokeres had put Sweden in front, but Romelu Lukaku equalised from the penalty spot.

Belgium have already booked their place at the finals in Germany next year, while Sweden cannot qualify.

Virgil van Dijk scored a dramatic late penalty for the Netherlands three minutes into added-time to snatch a crucial 1-0 victory over Greece in Athens.

Denzel Dumfries was fouled in the box to give Van Dijk the chance to win the game and Greece coach Gus Poyet later received a red card for his protestations from the sidelines.

It was the second spot kick in the game for the Dutch after striker Wout Weghorst had his penalty saved by goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos.

France have already qualified from Group B but Netherlands moved into second place with the win on 12 points from six games and with matches to come against lowly Ireland and Gibraltar.

Greece have the same number of points but have played a game more and meet France in their final qualifier next month.

Ireland cruised to a 4-0 win over Gibraltar with goals from teenager Evan Ferguson, Michael Johnston, Matt Doherty and Callum Robinson but they were already unable to qualify.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal, who had already qualified from Group I, thumped Bosnia & Herzegovina 5-0 in Zenica. Ronaldo's first goal was a penalty and Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix also got on the scoresheet.

Slovakia took a giant step towards qualifying for a third successive Euros as they beat Luxembourg 1-0 with a David Duris goal 13 minutes from time in Group J.

That win opened up a five-point gap between second-placed Slovakia and Luxembourg in third with two rounds to play.

Gylfi Sigurdsson scored twice as fourth-placed Iceland defeated Liechtenstein 4-0 in the other match in the group.

Belgium-Sweden match abandoned after two Swedes shot dead in Brussels


IMAGE: General view during a minutes silence for the victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

The Euro 2024 qualifier between Belgium and Sweden was suspended at halftime and subsequently abandoned following the fatal shooting of two Swedes in Brussels earlier on Monday, UEFA said.

Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level as a man in a video on social media claimed that he was the assailant and that he was from Islamic State.

"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 in a statement on its website.

Swedish reporters at the game said they had been informed of the attack just before the national anthems were played. Sweden's players told UEFA they did not want to play the second half and the Belgians agreed, Swedish broadcaster TV6 said.

The score was level at 1-1 when news of the suspension came and Sweden's fans were asked to remain in the stadium.

"Arrangements to safely escort supporters from the Belgium-Sweden match out of the stadium are being examined," Crisis Centre Belgium said in a post on social media platform X.

"Supporters will be given more information at the stadium. Please follow the instructions of the emergency services."

The two victims were reported to have been wearing Sweden shirts when they were shot, according to Swedish media.

"I feel completely shocked," Sweden fan Pernilla Califf told the Aftonbladet newspaper. "We don't understand anything. Everyone is taking off their Swedish shirts and changing into neutral clothes. This is really unpleasant"

Sweden coach Janne Andersson told a press conference that they had asked not to carry on with the match.

"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?" he told reporters.

"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."

Sweden captain Victor Lindelof told the press conference that the players never felt in any danger.

"Our security team handled it well and put us at ease. They explained that this is the safest place to be in Brussels," he said.

Belgium had already booked a place at the finals in Germany next year, while Austria's 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan earlier on Monday meant Sweden could not qualify for Euro 2024.

"Belgium are already qualified and we don't have the opportunity to get to the European Championship, so I see no reason to play," Lindelof added.

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