Belgium hosted Azerbaijan in Brussels this Sunday, November 19, as part of qualifying for Euro 2024. Problem: the Swedish anthem was heard at the King Baudouin stadium before the match.
Spectators of France-Albania in September 2019 can attest to this, it is almost a “classic” of international football failures. And each time, the blunder gives rise to images that are embarrassing to say the least… While Belgium hosted Azerbaijan this Sunday as part of qualifying for Euro 2024, the pre-match at the King Baudouin stadium was was marked by an anthem problem.
As is the rule, the visiting team’s national anthem was to be played first. But as they were about to sing “The Azerbaijani March”, the Azerbaijani players had the (bad) surprise of hearing a completely different melody. And for good reason: the speakers of the speaker started broadcasting the… Swedish anthem.
Lukaku not Diplomate
After a big and embarrassing moment of hesitation, then the intervention of the Belgian captain Romelu Lukaku to the officials to have the situation resolved, the correct anthem was finally played. To avoid a small diplomatic incident.
Note that the fate of Group F was already sealed before the meeting, since Belgium and Austria had already won their ticket to the Euro, leading to the elimination of Sweden, Azerbaijan and Estonia. However, the Red Devils had to win to obtain seed status for the draw.