The start of Denmark’s first match since Christian Eriksen’s terrifying collapse, which ended in a 2-1 Belgium victory, saw a number of special moments.
The game opened with Denmark’s Yussuf Poulsen scoring a goal in the second minute. The team’s celebration was emotional, to say the least:
A massive Eriksen jersey was also unfurled ahead of the match, dedicated to the still-hospitalized midfielder.
Fans from both sides also joined to show support for Eriksen:
Even Belgium joined in the 10th minute, when they agreed to stop play so the home crowd at Parken Stadium could deliver a loud ovation in honor of Eriksen, who wears No. 10 for Denmark.
Both teams stopped playing to join in the tribute:
That tribute was planned ahead of the match, with Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku telling reporters about it the previous day. Lukaku is teammates with Eriksen at Inter Milan and spoke of how he reacted to the awful moment:
“I cried a lot because I was scared, obviously. We lived strong moments together for a year and a half. I spent more time with him than my family, so my thoughts are with him, his girlfriend, his two kids and his family.”
Lukaku had already done a tribute of his own in a match against Russia, which came right after Denmark’s match against Finland. After the first of his two goals, he ran to a television camera and shouted “Chris, Chris, strength boy, I love you,” per the Associated Press.
Eriksen remains hospitalized in Copenhagen since going into cardiac arrest and needing to be resuscitated. He has since posted an encouraging update on social media, giving a thumbs-up. His hospital is reportedly close to the stadium, so it’s quite possible he heard the Danish fans’ ovation from his bed.
Belgium scored twice in the second half behind Kevin de Bruyne, who came on as a substitute after fracturing his nose and eye socket in last month’s Champions League final. De Bruyne’s phenomenal assist set up Thorgan Hazard for the equalizer, while he scored himself to finish a wonderful sequence of passes 16 minutes later.
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