Posted: Wednesday, June 16, 2021. 6:19 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: When Belgium play Denmark on Thursday at Euro 2020, the Belgian side plan to kick out the ball in the 10th minute as a tribute to Lukaku’s Inter Milan teammate Christian Eriksen who suffered a heart attack on Saturday during Denmark’s game against Finland.
That day, Lukaku scored for Belgium hours after Eriksen collapsed at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen and he celebrated his teammate after scoring.
Eriksen wears the number 10 jersey for Denmark, so when both teams meet at Parken Stadium on Thursday, the Belgians intend to kick out the ball at the 10th minute as a tribute to Eriksen who is now recovering at a hospital not far away from the stadium.
“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 Belgium manager Roberto Martinez said the tribute is a celebration of life, but that after the tribute they have a game to win.
Martinez said his team will also pay tribute to Eriksen before the game starts.
“Football is not the same if Eriksen is not on the football pitch,” Martinez said.
“We hope he can make a full recovery and be back with the Denmark team and the Inter Milan team.”
Lukaku and Eriksen have played at Inter Milan since January 2020.
On Tuesday, Eriksen went on Instagram to thank football fans around the world who have been very concerned for him.
“Big thanks for your sweet and amazing greetings and messages from all around the world. It means a lot to me and my family. I’m fine – under the circumstances. I still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay,” Eriksen wrote.
Eriksen had to be resuscitated after passing out in the 42nd minute of the match. The fast reaction by players and officials in calling in the medical team saved his life.
“It was a cardiac arrest. He was gone and we did cardiac resuscitation,” said Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen, who was one of the members of the medical team that tended to Eriksen on field.
“How close were we to losing him? I don’t know. We got him back after one defib [defibrillation]. That’s quite fast.”
Though UEFA initially suspended the game, the match was resumed two hours later with Finland beating Denmark 1-0.
Since then, the Denmark side have said that UEFA pressured them to complete the match.
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