UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifier: Sweden’s Janne Andersson set to Bow Out

uefa euro 2024 qualifier players of sweden and belguim line up
The match between Belgium and Sweden was abandoned at half-time for security reasons | Photo from Reuters

UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifier: Sweden’s national football team manager, Janne Andersson, is set to depart following the team’s unsuccessful bid to qualify for Euro 2024. The recent Euro 2024 qualifier between Belgium and Sweden was marred by a tragic incident, leading to its suspension. Two Swedish nationals were shot dead in Brussels, causing the match to be halted at half-time.

In the wake of a tragic incident during the Euro 2024 qualifier, Sweden’s manager, Janne Andersson, expressed the team’s unanimous decision not to continue the match, stating, “Out of respect for the victims and their families, the team was in full agreement to not play on.”

Upon hearing of the match’s suspension, Swedish fans were instructed to stay within the stadium. Crisis Centre Belgium communicated, “We are currently assessing the best way to ensure the safe exit of supporters. Further instructions will be provided on-site. We urge everyone to heed the directions of emergency personnel.”

It was reported that the two victims were donned in Swedish jerseys at the time of the incident. A distraught Sweden supporter, Pernilla Califf, shared her sentiments with the Aftonbladet newspaper, saying, “The shock is overwhelming. Many of us are removing our Swedish jerseys and opting for neutral attire. It’s a deeply unsettling situation.”

While Belgium had secured their spot for the finals in Germany next year, Austria’s recent victory over Azerbaijan meant Sweden’s chances for qualification were dashed.

Belgium’s Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, confirmed the Swedish nationality of the victims and conveyed his condolences on social media. “I extend my heartfelt sympathies to the families affected by this heinous act,” he wrote. “I’ve reached out to the Swedish PM to express our sorrow over the tragic events in Brussels tonight. Our united front against terrorism remains stronger than ever.”

UEFA announced that further details regarding the situation will be released in the coming days.

Andersson’s tenure with the Swedish national team has been notable, with both highs and lows. Earlier this year, he was involved in a public spat with a pundit, which led to clear-the-air talks. Despite the challenges, his commitment to the team has been unwavering. As the Swedish team looks forward to the future, they will undoubtedly be seeking a leader who can build on Andersson’s legacy.

A Man behind a Great Success

During the 2018 World Cup, Andersson’s tactical acumen was evident. His Swedish team was defensively robust, though their cautious approach limited their offensive prowess. Despite this, they advanced to the quarter-finals, only to be defeated by Hodgson’s England. This achievement, coupled with Andersson’s rejuvenation of Swedish football, was widely celebrated.

However, the euphoria was short-lived. In the delayed Euro 2020, Sweden led their group but their conservative style didn’t resonate with many fans. Their journey ended in the last 16 at the hands of Ukraine. Subsequently, their performance in the Nations League declined, and they missed the 2022 World Cup. Critics noted that Andersson’s strategies were becoming predictable, especially when compared to the innovative tactics emerging globally.

Andersson’s challenges were compounded by the aging and exit of pivotal players, particularly in midfield and defense. While he leaves behind a team with promising attackers like Alexander Isak, Dejan Kulusevski, and Anthony Elanga, the squad lacks the robust defenders and dynamic midfielders that once defined Swedish football.

At 61, Andersson remains a respected figure in football. His integrity and strategic expertise will likely make him a sought-after asset for clubs and national teams alike. Yet, for someone who once said he’d manage Sweden for a lifetime, his seven-year tenure will undoubtedly hold a special place in his heart.

Information from The Guardian was used in this story.

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