PARIS: Kevin De Bruyne scored the winning goal in Belgium’s 2-1 win over Denmark and reached the knockout stage of Euro 2020 in Copenhagen on Thursday, as fans and players showed their support for Christian Eriksen, while the Netherlands also secured a place in the tournament. last 16.
De Bruyne scored and created an excellent second half as a substitute when Roberto Martinez’s Belgium denied Denmark a decisive point in the second set.
“We can be happy,” De Bruyne told RTBF. “We knew there were going to be difficult moments for Denmark and this public, with everything that happened.”
Five days after Eriksen called for emergency medical help to revive him in Denmark’s opening defeat to Finland, his team is back in action at the same location.
With the Inter Milan midfielder likely to be within earshot and recovering at the Rigchospitalet less than a kilometer away, the Danes took the second minute to send the 25,000-strong crowd their way when Josef Poulsen fired in the bottom corner.
It was the second fastest goal in the history of the European Championship.
Belgium sent the ball 10 minutes later, as players and fans received a minute of applause for Eriksen, who usually wears the No. 10 shirt.
The 29-year-old will be fitted with a pacemaker after cardiac arrest.
The hosts had the opportunity to double their lead, but the game changed with De Bruyne making his first appearance in the tournament after he suffered a fracture in the face in the Champions League final against Manchester City against Chelsea.
The midfielder showed great calm to lead Thorgan Hazard to equalize in the 55th minute, before passing a smart pass to fellow substitute Eden Hazard and a left shot against Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel 20 minutes before the end of the match.
“I didn’t want to celebrate that goal,” De Bruyne added. “I have a lot of respect for the Danish fans.”
Belgium join Italy in the last 16, three points ahead of Russia and Finland, who meet in St Petersburg on Monday and need a point to finish top of the Group B table.
Denmark still have a chance to reach the next round, where a victory over Russia in their last group stage match in Copenhagen will likely help them.
Because of the ease of the Dutch language
Frank de Boer in the Netherlands celebrated his return to one of football’s major tournaments after a seven-year absence by reaching the last 16 in a row after beating Austria 2-0 in Amsterdam.
The 25-year-old Dumfries, who plays for PSV Eindhoven, scored 23 minutes before starting a superb attack led by Depay and Doniel Mallin.
“The most important thing is not my performance, it’s the three points,” Dumfries said. “We created good chances and deserved to win.”
Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt is back in the squad after missing the opening match with a groin problem and has helped the Netherlands keep a clean sheet in the European Championship since their 2-0 win over Romania in 2008.
The Dutch win takes first place in Group C, ahead of Austria and Ukraine, who will face second-placed leaders on Monday, making North Macedonia the first team to be eliminated from this year’s tournament.
Ukraine beat North Macedonia in the other group game with a 2-1 victory in Bucharest, with Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yarimchuk scoring their second goals of the tournament.
And Izjan Alewski reduced the difference for North Macedonia, who entered the tournament for the first time, but failed to equalize.
England on Friday look for a place in the playoffs when they host old rivals Scotland at Wembley, while Croatia face the Czech Republic in another Group D match.
Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire has returned to the England squad after a six-week absence with an ankle injury, while Scotland welcome Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney.
Elsewhere, Sweden will try to cement a goalless draw with Spain in St Petersburg against Slovakia, who defeated Poland in the opening match of Group E.