Christian Eriksen: Belgium to kick ball out in 10th minute of Euro 2020 match with Denmark

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen

Romelu Lukaku said Belgium will kick the ball out in the 10th minute of their game against Denmark on Thursday to applaud Christian Eriksen as he recovers from a cardiac arrest.

The Danish midfielder, who wears number 10 for his country, collapsed moments before half-time during Denmark’s Euro 2020 opening match versus Finland last Saturday, and the former-Spurs star needed CPR during distressing scenes in Copenhagen.

Denmark captain Simon Kjaer put Eriksen in the recovery position and cleared his airways while the medical team used a defibrillator to resuscitate the 29-year-old, who was conscious as he was carried off on a stretcher.

The traumatic event led to fans, players and clubs all praying for his recovery before UEFA confirmed he was stable, and Eriksen himself later assured fans he was “OK” from his hospital bed.

Denmark face Belgium on Thursday and Lukaku, who plays for Inter Milan alongside Eriksen, revealed that the Red Devils are planning their own tribute as many of their squad have played with the midfielder.

“After 10 minutes of the match, we will put the ball in touch to applaud,” Lukaku said. “Several players from our country have played with him but we will be there to win and that is the most important.”

Lukaku and Eriksen helped Inter win Serie A last season, and the former-Manchester United striker said he had spoken to his club teammate and plans to again before he faces Denmark.

While Lukaku wants to ensure Eriksen is better, he understands it is important to allow him to recover and be with his family.

“I just got a message from Eriksen telling me he was fine, and I told him if he wanted to talk I was there.

“I will send him a little message before the game. I will let him spend time with his family. A lot of people will try to message him. I will let him recover.”

Lukaku paid his own tribute to Eriksen on Saturday, as the striker scored twice in Belgium’s 3-0 win over Russia – and the 28-year-old celebrated the first by shouting ‘Chris, I love you!’ into the camera.

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez echoed Lukaku’s words, and praised his squad’s plan to celebrate his survival with the gesture against Denmark.

However, the 47-year-old stressed that his side still have to win the Group B clash and will shift their focus before and after the 10th minute.

Martinez said: “As you can imagine, the uncertainty that we had when the incident happened, that was a really tough moment, a tough moment for any player that was watching the game, a tough moment for players who have been sharing dressing rooms with Christian.

“Then from that point on, once you get the good news that Christian reacted positively, that he was talking, that he was in hospital, now it’s almost a celebration. You’re going to have a full capacity crowd – this is about a celebration in football and for Christian. But after that, there’s a game to be played.”

Martinez added: “It’s an important game for both national teams and in that way, every single player that is going to be on that pitch will know the importance and what’s at stake, and that focus will shift quite quickly.”

Belgium are top of Group B after they defeated Russia 3-0, while Denmark fell to Finland 1-0 in the restarted game. Russia won 1-0 against Finland on Wednesday afternoon.

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