Belgium’s players will kick the ball out of play in the 10th minute of their European Championship game against Denmark so the stadium can pay tribute to Christian Eriksen with a minute’s applause, striker Romelu Lukaku said on Wednesday (June 16). The fans at Parken Stadium are planning a loud ovation for Eriksen in the 10th minute of the Euro 2020 game because the midfielder wears the No. 10 shirt for Denmark. Lukaku said both teams will stop playing to join in the tribute.
“We will kick the ball out for a throw-in to stop and applaud and mark this moment,” Lukaku said on Wednesday.
Eriksen remains in a Copenhagen hospital close to the stadium after suffering cardiac arrest during Saturday’s game against Finland. Lukaku is teammates with Eriksen at Inter Milan and said he “cried a lot” before the Russia game after hearing about the collapse. Lukaku scored twice in that game and ran to a TV camera after the first goal to shout “Chris, Chris, Strength boy, I love you” in a mixture of Dutch and English.
Lukaku said he has exchanged text messages with Eriksen since the incident but was told it wasn’t yet possible to visit him in the hospital. The striker warned, though, that he won’t take it easy on Denmark when play starts.
“We must also not forget,” Lukaku said, “that we have to win a game.”
Lukaku wants to visit Eriksen
Belgium’s goal ace Lukaku wants to use the opportunity of being in Denmark to visit club mate Christian Eriksen but warned there will be no sympathy when the countries meet at Euro 2020. Lukaku and Eriksen were part of Inter Milan’s Serie A-winning season but would have been on opposite ends in the Group B clash on Thursday before Eriksen suffered a heart attack playing for Denmark on Saturday.
“I have already sent him a message and he has let us know that he is OK. I have already asked the coach if I could visit him in the hospital, we will see if that is possible,” Lukaku told a news conference on Wednesday.
“We’re here to win, that’s our main job. My head is now on the match, we have to continue.”
Belgian players have prepared a tribute to Eriksen before the match, details of which Lukaku did not reveal, and will participate in a round of applause for the Danish playmaker during the match at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium.
“In the 10th minute we will kick the ball outside and applaud. That is our support. That is the most normal thing in the world because we have several players in our squad who know him personally. But tomorrow we will also be here to win, that remains the most important task. There is no room for pity at this level.
“Denmark is a really good team and they now have an extra motivation. We certainly do not underestimate them.”
(with agency inputs)