Denmark v Belgium: Danes set for emotional Parken return



Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand during training
Denmark’s players did not train at the Parken Stadium before Thursday’s game
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Belgium intend to kick the ball out of play in the 10th minute of their game with Denmark to take part in a minute’s applause for Christian Eriksen.

Eriksen is recovering in hospital after he suffered a cardiac arrest in the stadium during Denmark’s Euro 2020 loss to Finland in Copenhagen on Saturday.

Danish fans are planning the applause as a show of support.

“We’ll put the ball into touch to applaud,” said striker Romelu Lukaku, a team-mate of Eriksen at Inter Milan.

“Several of our players have played with him. But tomorrow we’ll be there to win the game, which promises to be difficult.”

The timing of the tribute has been chosen because Eriksen wears the number 10 shirt for Denmark.

Lukaku, who scored twice in Belgium’s 3-0 win over Russia on Saturday, shouted a message of support to Eriksen into a pitchside camera after one of his finishes.

The game is taking place at the Parken Stadium, the scene of Eriksen’s collapse.

“It will be very emotional to return,” said Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand. “We expect to have incredible support from our fans and from the whole country.

“We have to be ready for that and use this energy in a positive way.”

Denmark will face a tough task against world number one side Belgium, who beat Russia 3-0 in their Group B opener.

The Belgians are also able to welcome back playmaker Kevin de Bruyne.

Manchester City midfielder De Bruyne suffered a double facial fracture in last month’s Champions League final against Chelsea.

“He is medically fit, he has the green light to be in a match situation,” Belgium boss Roberto Martinez said.

Axel Witsel is set for a surprise return after tearing an Achilles tendon in January while playing for Borussia Dortmund. He was expected to be out for nine months.

MATCH FACTS

Denmark

  • Denmark have missed three of their last four penalties in major competitions (World Cup + Euros), having scored the previous five between 1984 and 1998.

Belgium

  • Belgium have won four of their last five matches at the European Championships (L1), as many as they had won across their first 13 games in the competition (W4 D2 L7).
  • Belgium have won seven matches under Roberto Martínez at the European Championship and World Cup finals combined – only Guy Thys (8) has recorded more such wins with the Red Devils.

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