A proud Christian Eriksen told his Denmark team-mates they had put on a ‘fantastic’ performance after their 2-1 defeat to Belgium at Euro 2020.
Denmark returned to action in Group B last night – just four days on from the harrowing scenes surrounding Eriksen’s cardiac arrest – and Kasper Hjulmand’s men got off to a dream start as Yussuf Poulsen’s early strike gave them the lead.
Play was stopped in the 10th minute as players, coaches and supporters rose to show their support for Eriksen at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium and the hosts held firm to keep Belgium at bay until the break.
However, Roberto Martinez introduced Kevin De Bruyne at the halfway stage and the Manchester City midfielder stole the show to inspire his side to victory, assisting Thorgan Hazard’s equaliser before netting the decisive goal with 20 minutes remaining.
It means the Danes are still without a single point ahead of their final group game but last night’s courageous display should provide some encouragement when they return to the national stadium to face Russia next Monday.
‘Eriksen wrote in the WhatsApp group after the game and he said we had been fantastic,’ Denmark and Barcelona forward Martin Braithwaite told reporters at his post-match press conference.
‘I read the text on my way to the dressing room.’
‘We had a great start where we proved to be mentally strong.
‘We were playing for Christian and the whole country. We felt the whole stadium around us, it was amazing.’
Braithwaite is adamant Denmark were on course to win their opening match before being ‘forced’ to play on by UEFA in the wake of Eriksen’s cardiac arrest.
‘We would have won the first game, I am sure about that,’ the striker added.
‘But we were forced to play after what had happened.
‘It’s incredible we still have zero points, but I have the feeling we will qualify.’
It was confirmed on Thursday that Eriksen is set to be fitted with a heart-starting device following his collapse in Denmark’s European Championships opener.
‘Christian has accepted the solution and the plan has moreover been confirmed by specialists nationally and internationally who all recommend the same treatment,’ Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen said.
‘We encourage everybody to give Christian and his family peace and privacy.’
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