Denmark faced Belgium in Copenhagen on Thursday in their first match at Euro 2020 since midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the field in Saturday's game against Finland in the same stadium.
Eriksen is recovering in a hospital in the Danish capital just a few hundred yards away from the Parken stadium, where a unique tribute was paid to him during the match.
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The afternoon began with an emotional serenade for Eriksen as both sets of fans joined in harmony for a rendition of terrace anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone."
And while Yussuf Poulsen gave the Danes a dream start with an early goal, it was second-half strikes by Thorgan Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne that gave Belgium the 2-1 win on an emotional night.
You'll Never Walk Alone rings around the stadium in support for Eriksen ❤️ pic.twitter.com/0tX84BjXL5— Watch LFC (@Watch_LFC) June 17, 2021
And there was a prematch message of support for Eriksen in the form of a giant version of his No. 10 jersey being paraded on the field.
And the giant jersey - of course - is an Eriksen 10. This stadium is the best kind - four steep walls so there's nowhere for the noise to go. What a night. pic.twitter.com/vPNARuawFt— Sam Borden (@SamBorden) June 17, 2021
Belgium also presented Denmark captain Simon Kjaer with a signed shirt which had Eriksen's name, number and "Good Recovery" on the back as the atmosphere built toward the kick-off.
👏 El gesto de Bélgica con Dinamarca— Mundo Deportivo (@mundodeportivo) June 17, 2021
🎩 Una camiseta belga firmada por todos los jugadores y con el nombre de Eriksen #RESPECT pic.twitter.com/nrpLNEBGc6
Denmark and Belgium fans coming together ahead of their Euro 2020 clash 🇩🇰🇧🇪— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 17, 2021
Some things are bigger than football. pic.twitter.com/dbs1PKvCPE
Denmark then got off to the perfect start when Poulsen opened the scoring with two minutes on the clock, sparking joyous celebrations.
A special moment for Denmark as they take an early lead vs. Belgium 🇩🇰❤️ pic.twitter.com/XPjpBofOBJ— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 17, 2021
"Goal for Poulsen - goal for an entire country!"#BEL #DEN #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/VLrGmFW6Xf— FourFourTwo (@FourFourTwo) June 17, 2021
Football never lets you down for moments like that. Incredible for Denmark to score that early. Goosebumps.— John Bennett (@JohnBennettBBC) June 17, 2021
With only 99 seconds played beforehand, Poulsen's goal was not only a gloriously emotional one for his country but it also entered the annals of European Championship history.
99 - Yussuf Poulsen has scored the second quickest goal in European Championships history, timed at 99 seconds. Only Dmitry Kirichenko for Russia vs Greece at EURO 2004 scored an earlier goal (65 seconds). Thrust. #DEN #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/iv3Ruv3uh0— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 17, 2021
With the home crowd still celebrating that goal, the planned tribute for Eriksen took place. With the match clock showing 10 minutes, the same number as Eriksen wears on the back of his jersey for his national team, the ball was kicked out of play and the Denmark and Belgium players led the fans inside the stadium in an emotional minute's applause.
The game stops in the 10th minute for a round of applause for Christian Eriksen.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 17, 2021
Bigger than sports 👏 @ESPNFC pic.twitter.com/6HPpEHouGP
A variety of banners and flags were also unfurled in the Parken stands, including one reading "The whole of Denmark is with you, Christian."
❤️ "All of Denmark is with you, Christian."#EURO2020 https://t.co/zp0PcsgPBm pic.twitter.com/vz5Q9VXfVU— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 17, 2021
🔟❤️🤍 pic.twitter.com/CipLxnESul— DBU - En Del Af Noget Større (@DBUfodbold) June 17, 2021
What a moment as Belgium & Denmark stop play in the 10th minute, Christian Eriksen's national team number, and honor him with a minute long standing applause 👏— International Champions Cup (@IntChampionsCup) June 17, 2021
The beautiful game 😍 pic.twitter.com/lbHdoiW1Yw
One of the players involved was Romelu Lukaku, who plays alongside Eriksen at Inter Milan. The Belgium striker had dedicated his opening goal against Russia on Saturday to his teammate, shouting "Chris, I love you" down the camera lens.
The game is stopped in the 10th minute for a round of applause for Christian Eriksen.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 17, 2021
This is football 👏 pic.twitter.com/uyEgUYLkFl
Danish professional golfer Thomas Bjorn couldn't find the words to articulate his feelings, as all across social media people were reacting to such an unprecedented moment.
😢🇩🇰❤️— Thomas Bjørn (@thomasbjorngolf) June 17, 2021
Wonderfully emotive applause by fans, players, officials alike in the 10th minute of Denmark's game v Belgium in honour of Christian Eriksen.— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) June 17, 2021
And the 10th minute brings the ball out of play and a moment of applause from the crowd. You can really see Lukaku feel it.— Carl Anka (@Ankaman616) June 17, 2021
Rest well Eriksen. We hope you're ok.
Belgium would equalise in the 54th minute when second-half substitute De Bruyne found an unmarked Hazard who thumped home into an empty net. De Bruyne would give his side the lead with his goal in the 70th minute, celebrating in a respectful manner.
Denmark 1-2 Belgium— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 17, 2021
Kevin De Bruyne has turned this game on its head 😳 pic.twitter.com/8T04ZhcAhu
Ultimate respect from Kevin De Bruyne in his goal celebration 👊 - thinking of Christian Eriksen. #bbceuro2020 #DEN #BEL pic.twitter.com/WSuUULEQX8— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) June 17, 2021
As full-time approached, Denmark tried to find their second on the night as Martin Braithwaite even rattled the woodwork late.
Unfortunately, the Danes were ultimately beaten in a game they so dearly wanted to win, but their fans applauded their players' effort as they now turn to their attention to their final group stage game against Russia.
𝙏𝙪𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙙, 𝙩𝙪𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙙, 𝙩𝙪𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙖𝙠 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙥𝙗𝙖𝙠𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙣 🙌— DBU - En Del Af Noget Større (@DBUfodbold) June 17, 2021
Nu er der dækket op til et brag på mandag mod Rusland. Vi håber, I er med os! 🇩🇰#ForDanmark #EURO2020 #DENBEL #DEN pic.twitter.com/PwlohKOAcC
Chris Wright contributed to this report