Denmark Advances at Euro 2020, Winning Where Eriksen Fell

Denmark’s gamers gathered in a circle on the sector at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen and stared intently at a workers member’s cellphone. They should have recognized, by then, that that they had certified for the final 16 of the European Championship, however they needed to make certain. They needed to see the rating confirmed, officially.

The Danes had come into their remaining group recreation on Monday needing the cube to roll of their favor to make it by means of. They required a win in opposition to Russia on residence soil, and for Belgium to beat Finland in St. Petersburg. That that they had an opportunity at all, although — that their coach, Kasper Hjulmand, might inform his gamers that this was the beginning, not the top, of their match — was exceptional in itself.

It just isn’t but 10 days since Hjulmand admitted that his gamers had been “broken,” traumatized by the expertise of seeing their buddy and teammate Christian Eriksen collapse on the field throughout their opening recreation in opposition to Finland, pressured to face guard round him as his coronary heart was restarted as he lay immobile on the turf, and to accompany him from the sector as he was taken to hospital.

They needed to consolation his distraught companion, after which endure probably the most agonizing wait to find if he was out of hazard. Quite the place soccer got here within the pecking order was illustrated by the squad’s insistence it will not resolve whether or not that recreation would proceed or not till the gamers had phrase about Eriksen’s well being.

Only once they had been advised that he was aware and talking at the hospital did they press on, taking part in the sport the identical night as a result of — as Hjulmand mentioned — they may not bear to face an evening of sleepless fear after which have to begin once more the subsequent day. They performed, and misplaced. Just a few days later, in entrance of an emotional crowd of about 25,000 followers at Parken, they performed and misplaced once more, this time to Belgium.

That was hardly stunning. Hjulmand had mentioned that counseling could be obtainable to all of his squad, ought to they really feel the necessity, however it will take a while for that to have an effect. This was not the kind of blow you shake off in time for the subsequent recreation.

Still, Denmark had yet one more probability. It had taken the lead, by means of Eriksen’s substitute, Mikkel Damsgaard, and doubled it by means of Yussuf Poulsen, however Finland was nonetheless stubbornly holding on in St. Petersburg. And then a roar swept round Parken: News had filtered throughout the Baltic that Belgium had scored. Only, because it turned out, the objective was dominated out — after a brief delay — for offside.

As Denmark was absorbing that blow, Russia received — and transformed — a penalty kick. Everything hung within the steadiness as soon as extra. Again, Denmark was made to attend.

A couple of minutes later, there was one other roar from the stands, this one a little bit extra reticent. This time Belgium had taken the lead. This time the objective counted. Denmark might calm down. When Andreas Christiansen scored a 3rd, and Joakim Maehle a fourth, the staff and the stadium and the nation might rejoice. Maehle ran to the gang, holding up the numbers 1 and zero along with his fingers: Eriksen’s jersey quantity.

Denmark’s prize is a spherical of 16 match on Saturday, in opposition to Wales, in Amsterdam, at the stadium the place Eriksen made his title. It doesn’t matter at all, not within the grand scheme of issues, however nonetheless, it means the world.

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