D.As announced, this moving Thursday evening in Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium also turned into a celebration for Christian Eriksen. The captain of the Danish national football team, who collapsed on the lawn of this arena last Saturday during the opening match for the European Championship against Finland and was brought back to life after a cardiac arrest.
The team’s playmaker watched for five days from the nearby hospital, where a defibrillator will soon be used to stabilize his health. What the 29-year-old professional of the Italian champions Inter Milan saw on the television screen was not only the homage of 25,000 spectators and the two teams to a friend and colleague who escaped death, but also a football game in which his Danish comrades played the place seemed liberated for a long time after the unbearable Saturday of horror, in which the 0-1 defeat against the Finns had become a minor matter. After the shock, they had started again to bring an unreal game to an end that they could no longer master.
Denmark offered one of the favorites for the title a big fight on Thursday and played an exciting attacking football for long stretches. In the end, the 1-0 lead through Poulsen’s early goal (2nd minute) was not enough to win. Thorgan Hazard (52nd) and De Bruyne (70th) turned the game around in favor of the twice-victorious group B leaders. While the twice-victorious Belgians storm towards group victory, meet Finland in the third game and are already qualified for the round of 16 Denmark also reached the round of 16 on Monday by beating Russia.
Even before the game rested for sixty seconds after about ten minutes and everyone in the stadium applauded the convalescent Eriksen fervently, Denmark was already ahead. After a bad pass from Denayer to Höjbjerg and the submission of the man who looked overwhelmed with a penalty against the Finns and failed to goalkeeper Hradecky, the Leipzig striker Yussuf Poulsen used the early opportunity after exactly 99 seconds of play to take the lead with a low shot. By now, at the latest, football had the Danes back – entirely in line with Eriksen’s ideas. The Scandinavians had an intoxicating first half against the favorites, in which they had dominated the number one in the world rankings with 62 percent won duels and a goal scoring rate of 10: 1.
Belgian coach Roberto Martinez reacted to this by replacing his playmaker De Bruyne, who had recovered from an orbital fracture, for Mertens in the second half and, after just under an hour, the stabilizer Witsel, who was able to play again after an Achilles tendon, and star striker Eden Hazard, who was stagnating at Real Madrid. His brother Thorgan had previously scored the 1-1, which Lukaku and De Bruyne had brought perfectly on the way (54th). Now the Danes had to withstand the Belgian pressure in order not to end up with empty hands again. That didn’t work. De Bruyne turned the game around with a precise low shot from sixteen meters, against the goalkeeper Schmeichel had no chance of defense.