After a stirring tribute to Christian Eriksen and a ”magical” atmosphere created by their fans, Denmark’s players want to pay their supporters back at the European Championship.
They have one last chance to do so when they face Russia in Copenhagen on Monday, knowing a win could still be enough to see them through to the next round at Euro 2020. Eriksen was yesterday discharged from hospital after a successful operation to fit a defibrillator implant.
The Denmark team was still processing the many emotions from its game against Belgium at Parken Stadium the previous evening, when a raucous crowd paid tribute to Eriksen with a minute’s applause after 10 minutes. Denmark took an early lead in the game but Belgium launched a second-half comeback to win 2-1.
”That atmosphere and that support, it was something I’ve never experienced before,” Denmark midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg said.
“It was exceptional and very, very powerful. So many people have supported us. Now all you want to do, for everything in the world, is to pay them back with everything you have. And that’s what we’re going to do on Monday.”
The Belgium game was Denmark’s first match since Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest in the opener against Finland and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator. Even after the loss, the Danish players were serenaded and given a standing ovation by the entire stadium.
Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said it was ”overwhelming” to feel the support from fans, all the way from the team’s training base outside Copenhagen to the stadium.
”To come into Parken and feel the energy, it was magical,” Hjulmand said.
Denmark lost to Finland 1-0 after play was resumed following a 90-minute break. But even with zero points after two games, Denmark still has a realistic chance of advancing from Group B. A win over Russia could be enough if Belgium beats Finland.
”Now we have to finish the job on Monday,” Hojbjerg said.
After he was discharged from the hospital, Eriksen immediately went to visit his team-mates.
”It was really great to see the guys again after the fantastic game they played last night,” Eriksen said in a tweet from the Danish federation. “No need to say that I will be cheering on them on Monday against Russia.”
And there’s no doubt that his team-mates will continue playing for him.