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Belgium-Japan football friendly nearly cancelled over terror threat

Friendly football match between Belgium and Japan was almost cancelled on Tuesday because of terrorist threats. Belgium went on win the match 1-0.

football Updated: Nov 15, 2017 18:24 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Brussels
Belgian Romelu Lukaku scored the only goal in the football friendly against Japan and became his country’s record goal scorer with 31 goals.(AP)

Belgium’s friendly international against Japan was almost cancelled on Tuesday due to what Belgian authorities claimed was a credible terrorist threat, local media reported on Wednesday.

“We didn’t know if we were going to play an hour before the match,” Belgian Football Association spokesperson Stefaan Van Loock said.

Belgian media reported that during wiretapping operations Brussels police heard talk of a planned attack at the Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges.

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Belgium has been rocked by a number of attacks in the last three years that have killed 36 people.

In March 2016, three coordinated suicide attacks ripped through Brussels Airport and a metro station in the centre of the Belgian capital, killing 32 and injured hundreds more.

After picking up the information on Tuesday Brussels police notified their Bruges counterparts and the Belgian anti-terrorism body Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis (CUTA).

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The authorities considered cancelling the match while security outside the stadium was strengthened.

As a result of the checks, several hundred spectators didn’t enter the ground until half an hour after kick-off.

However Police found no evidence of a planned attack, and at the end of the match fans left the stadium without any problems.

Belgium won the match 1-0 with a goal from Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.

First Published: Nov 15, 2017 18:24 IST