COPENHAGEN – After a moving tribute to Christian Eriksen and a “magical” atmosphere created by their fans, the players from Denmark want to pay their fans back at the European Championship.
They have one last chance to do so when they take on Russia in Copenhagen on Monday, knowing that a win could still be enough to advance to the next round of Euro 2020.
The Denmark team on Friday was still processing the many emotions from their match against Belgium at the Parken Stadium the night before, when a noisy crowd paid tribute to Eriksen with a minute of applause after 10 minutes. Denmark took an early lead in the game, but Belgium launched a comeback in the second half to win 2-1.
“That atmosphere and that support, it was something I had never experienced before,” said Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. “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 give them back everything you have. And that’s what we will do on Monday. “
The Belgium match was Denmark’s first match since Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest in the first match against Finland and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator. Even after the defeat, the Danish players received a serenade and a standing ovation throughout the stadium.
Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said it was “overwhelming” to feel the support from the fans, from the team’s training base outside Copenhagen to the stadium.
“Getting into the parking lot and feeling the energy was magical,” Hjulmand said. “The stadium helped us perform like we did yesterday.”
Denmark lost to Finland 1-0 after play resumed after 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.
Hjulmand said he could hardly believe his team had zero points after finishing with 23 shots in the first game compared to one for Finland. Against Belgium, the Danes had 22 attempts in total against six for their opponents.
“Of course it’s about having that final sharpness and putting the ball in the net,” Hjulmand said.
The Danish football federation said Thursday that Eriksen will be equipped with an implantable device that can function as a pacemaker and defibrillator. He has been in regular contact with his teammates and sent them a message of support after the Belgium game.
And there is no doubt that Denmark will continue to play for him.
“He is with us all the time. He’s with us here, ”Hojbjerg said, touching his chest.