|Photo: Around World journal|
Denmark resume their Euro 2020 campaign following the cardiac arrest suffered by Christian Eriksen in their Group B opener determined to win the whole tournament for their teammate. Without their talismanic playmaker Kasper Hjulmand’s side lost 1-0 to Finland at Parken Stadium and will face a tough task to overcome group leaders Belgium.
Two goals from Romelu Lukaku either side of one from Thomas Meunier earned the Belgians a convincing 3-0 victory against Russia and a further win would leave them almost certain to advance to the knockout stages. Here is how you can watch the match and everything you need to know:
Date: Thursday, June 17 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Parken Stadium — Copenhagen, Denmark
TV: ESPN/Univision | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Denmark vs Belgium: Match preview
|Photo: Getty Images|
Joel Pohjanpalo’s winner may have settled the contest in Finland’s favour, but the Huuhkajat’s celebrations were muted following the distressing scenes during the opening 45 minutes in Copenhagen, as Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest while teammates, relatives, friends and fans looked on in horror.
The Inter Milan playmaker was “gone” according to team doctor Morten Boesen, but the swift actions of his fellow players, medics and referee Anthony Taylor saved his life, and Eriksen has since issued a relief-inducing update from his hospital bed as he awaits further examinations.
UEFA affirmed that both sets of players elected to continue that same evening – a testament to the professionalism and mental grit of these athletes – and Pohjanpalo would find a way past Kasper Schmeichel before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg failed to beat Lukas Hradecky from 12 yards.
Hjulmand’s men are therefore fighting an uphill battle to claim one of the top two spots in Group B, and one can barely begin to imagine what sort of headspace they must be in before they step foot onto the Parken Stadium turf again – versus the world’s number-one ranked nation, no less.
The Danes’ impassioned fanbase will certainly not expect Hjulmand’s XI to be firing on all cylinders as they attempt to process the events of the past few days, and while Belgium will pay Denmark the utmost respect that they deserve, sentimentality will go out of the window for 90 minutes on Thursday.
A routine path to the knockout stages is no less than the Belgium faithful desire from their ever-hopeful squad, but with the likes of Lukaku, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen all sharing close relationships with Eriksen, a football match will be the last thing on some of their minds this week.
Belgium marched to back-to-back victories over Denmark last year during their Nations League campaign, and the two countries are locking horns at a major tournament for the first time since Euro 1984, where Denmark recovered from a two-goal deficit to win 3-2.
Denmark vs Belgium: Team news
Denmark will understandably be without Inter Milan midfielder Christian Eriksen, who is thankfully recovering. It is pertinent that the Danish Football Union pays close attention to the condition of their players after the harrowing events of Saturday.
Not available: Christian Eriksen
Meanwhile, Belgium will be without Leicester City full-back Timothy Castagne, who suffered a tournament-ending injury in the game against Russia. Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel, Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and Benfica centre-back Jan Vertonghen are all doubts to feature.
Injured: Timothy Castagne
Doubtful: Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel, Jan Vertonghen
Denmark possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Wass, Kjaer, Christensen, Maehle; Delaney, Hojbjerg, Jensen; Poulsen, Dolberg, Braithwaite
Belgium possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Alderweireld, Boyata, Vermaelen; Meunier, Tielemans, Dendoncker, T.Hazard; Mertens, Lukaku, Carrasco
Denmark vs Belgium: Prediction
|Photo: Sports News|
Football has taken a backseat for Denmark, and understandably so. They have a strong squad with good players, but their thoughts will be with Christian Eriksen and his family.
Belgium, on the other hand, have in Romelu Lukaku one of the best strikers in world football. The potential return of Kevin De Bruyne will only help their cause, while Eden Hazard enjoyed a good cameo against Russia and could start here.
Belgium should be able to edge past Denmark.
Prediction: Denmark 0-2 Belgium
Denmark vs Belgium: Betting tips
Belgium to Win
Belgium have a good recent record against Denmark, picking up two wins and a draw from the pair’s last three encounters. Belgium won both of the nation’s two meetings in 2020, claiming a 2-0 victory in Denmark and a 4-2 win back in Belgium. Denmark lost their opening game of the euros against a Finland side many had expected to struggle in Group B, while Belgium cruised to a 3-0 win against a poor Russian side.
Lukaku to Score
Lukaku looks like he means business this tournament, having already scored two goals in his opening game against Russia. The big Belgian striker had a fantastic season in front of goal for his club team Inter Milan, leading the Serie A side to the title. Denmark didn’t look solid at the back against Finland and Lukaku is bound to get a chance or two in the box and we don’t expect him to miss.
BTTS – No
Both teams have scored in just one of Denmark’s last six international matches and the Danes failed to find the back of the net in their opening game in Group B against Finland. Belgium kept a clean sheet against Russia and we’re expecting more of the same from Roberto Martinez’s side, who have now kept three clean sheets on their last four fixtures.