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A friendly between Belgium and Italy will be halted in the 39th minute as the names of the 39 victims of the Heysel Stadium disaster are read out one by one on Friday.
Heysel to be remembered when Belgium host Italy
11/11/2015
 
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A friendly between Belgium and Italy will be halted in the 39th minute as the names of the 39 victims of the Heysel Stadium disaster are read out one by one on Friday.


Belgium, currently number one in the FIFA rankings, host four-time World Cup champions Italy at the King Beaudoin stadium in Brussels.


It will count as preparation for next summer's European Championships, but the match is also the occasion for both sides to commemorate one of football's worst stadium disasters in the year of its 30th anniversary.


On May 29, 1985, 39, mostly Italian, fans died during the European Cup final between Juventus and Liverpool after running battles between groups of supporters caused panic and led to fans being crushed against a collapsing wall.


Juventus won the match 1–0 thanks to a penalty scored by Michel Platini, but the Turin club's victory has long been overshadowed by the controversy of players celebrating in the middle of the pitch only hours after the tragedy.


Liverpool's supporters were apportioned much of the blame although police chiefs and local authorities were also found guilty following an inquiry after the disaster, which also led to a five-year ban for English clubs in European competition.


Juventus last season were at the forefront of commemorations for victims of the disaster, days prior to facing Barcelona in the Champions League final in Berlin.


Fans unfurled banners at Juventus Stadium emblazoned with the number 39, with several other banners calling for supporters to never forget the victims.


This week, a number of initiatives are to be held.


Upon their arrival on Thursday, the Italy squad, Italian federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio, representatives from Juventus and members of an association representing families of the victims will leave bouquets of flowers at the Z section of the stadium which played host to the drama.


While there, Italy will 'retire' the number 39 shirt -- meaning the number 39 can no longer be chosen by any player in the national team.


On the day of the match itself the commemorations will continue before and also during the game.


A first message will be read by stadium announcers prior to kick-off, and the game will then be halted in the 39th minute as players from both teams meet to pay homage as the names of the 39 victims are read out one by one.


Italy are in rebuilding mode following their second successive first-round exit from the World Cup, at last summer's showpiece in Brazil while under the helm of Cesare Prandelli.


Current coach Antonio Conte, who played for Juventus from 1991-2004 and went on to lead the Bianconeri to three successive league titles in 2012-2014, steered the Azzurri to the Euro 2016 finals with two games to spare.


Italy will face Romania in a second friendly in Bologna on November 17.

Source: Justin DAVIS/ AFP
 
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