Kevin De Bruyne impressed Belgium to a 2-1 victory over Denmark in Copenhagen on Thursday, securing them a spot within the Euro 2020 knockout stage as followers and gamers confirmed their help for Christian Eriksen. Yussuf Poulsen gave the hosts a second-minute lead, however De Bruyne got here off the bench at half-time to make his first look of the match after harm and teed up Thorgan Hazard to equalise earlier than scoring the winner with a superb strike.
The match was paused after 10 minutes — a reference to Eriksen’s number 10 — for a minute’s applause for the Denmark midfielder, who suffered a cardiac arrest in his group’s sport in opposition to Finland final weekend.
The 29-year-old Inter Milan participant is recovering in hospital and can have a defibrillator implanted.
A piece of followers within the 25,000 crowd held up a banner studying “All of Denmark is with you, Christian” because the match was halted.
“The only thing I’m disappointed by is the result, I didn’t expect much from this game, but I can’t describe the pride I feel about this squad,” stated Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand.
“Four days after almost losing one of their best friends, they get up and they play such a game, it’s just amazing.”
If the Danes had been traumatised by Eriksen’s collapse or apprehensive about dealing with the world’s top-ranked group, they didn’t present it.
Simply after a minute, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg picked up a misplaced move by Jason Denayer and located Poulsen who took the ball contained in the field and fired throughout Thibaut Courtois into the underside nook.
At one minute and 39 seconds, it was the second quickest purpose in European Championship historical past, trailing solely Dmitri Kirichenko’s purpose after 67 seconds as Russia beat eventual champions Greece in 2004.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez stated his group was overwhelmed by the environment.
“The crowd gave a goal to the home team and that’s something we cannot afford to do,” stated the Spanish coach.
“But then the way that we didn’t accept that in the second half, it is personality, it is character.”
Belgium subs make the distinction
Belgium began with De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Axel Witsel on the bench, however Martinez despatched all of them into motion after the break and their presence made all of the distinction.
“It’s over 300 caps of experience so you’re going to see that difference to know how to be able to be yourself, to keep doing the right things under immense pressure,” Martinez stated.
Eriksen’s Inter Milan teammate Romelu Lukaku sprinted into the field on 55 minutes and located De Bruyne who arrange Thorgan Hazard to equalise with an excellent move by the shocked Danish defence.
Lukaku, who scored twice as Belgium swept Russia apart 3-0 within the Group B opener, was additionally on the origin of Belgium’s second purpose.
He began a collection of one-touch passes involving the Hazard brothers that lastly discovered De Bruyne who fired from outdoors the field together with his left foot.
His low shot beat a diving Kasper Schmeichel at his close to submit, with De Bruyne instantly refusing any celebration out of respect to Eriksen.
“De Bruyne’s quality prevented us from winning the game,” stated Hjulmand.
It was a sport of two halves with the surprisingly dominant Danes pushing early on to make amends for a disappointing 1-0 loss to Finland within the opener marred by Eriksen’s collapse.
Courtois needed to cease Joakim Maehle’s shot after an excellent, mazy run within the field after which Daniel Wass’s header, whereas Martin Braithwaite headed vast early into the sport.
Denmark “totally dominated the best team in the world” in these phases, stated Hjulmand.
“It’s been a while since we’ve last been put to the test like this,” stated Martinez.
Belgium barely crossed the midway line and stayed uncharacteristically subdued because the Danish defence had little drawback dealing with their assault within the first half.
On the different finish, Eriksen’s substitute Mikkel Damsgaard, the 20-year-old Sampdoria ahead, was a frequent menace to Courtois.
“The first half the players seemed shell shocked but they have the experience to turn a game around,” Martinez added.
Belgium gained extra possession after the break and got here again, largely controlling the sport.
However they let Danish striker Braithwaite hit the crossbar with a header 4 minutes from time, whereas Mathias Jensen fired simply over within the Danes’ last-gasp effort.
Matters talked about on this article