Kevin de Bruyne inspired Belgium to a comeback win against Denmark that secured their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020 as fans and players paid tribute to Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen, who is recovering after suffering cardiac arrest.
Eriksen is recovering in hospital after he collapsed on the pitch at the Parken Stadium during Saturday’s game against Finland.
Tributes were paid to Denmark’s talismanic number 10 before and during the game, with play stopped in the 10th minute as players, officials and supporters joined together for a minute’s applause.
That came after Yussuf Poulsen gave the hosts a dream start just one minute and 39 seconds into the game, slotting in after a mistake in the Belgium defence.
De Bruyne was sent on at the start of the second half and the Manchester City midfielder changed the game.
He played a part in the equaliser, receiving a pass from Romelu Lukaku before superbly finding Thorgan Hazard to fire home, and then drove in the winner with 20 minutes remaining after a brilliant move started by Lukaku.
Martin Braithwaite went close to a late equaliser for Denmark but his header skimmed the top of the bar.
Victory means Belgium are top of Group B with six points from two games while Denmark are bottom of the standings with zero points.
Denmark were making their return to the Parken Stadium for the first time since those shocking scenes of Eriksen collapsing on the pitch at the weekend.
Both sets of fans showed their support for the player with messages to him on banners in the stands, while the conclusion of the Danish national anthem was greeted with a huge roar, one that was surpassed barely two minutes later when Denmark took the lead after an error in Belgian defence
A poor clearance by Jason Denayer was pounced upon by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who quickly found Poulsen and the Denmark forward slotted home.
Belgium, who had brushed aside Russia 3-0 in their group opener, just could not get going as the occasion seemed to overwhelm them.
But the introduction of De Bruyne for the start of the second half changed all that as he provided a brilliant cameo performance.
The midfielder has recently recovered from a fractured nose and eye socket but his return and performance from off the bench will give the Belgians a real boost heading into the knockout rounds.
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- 3VestergaardSubstituted forSkov Olsenat 84′minutes
- 18WassBooked at 59minsSubstituted forStryger Larsenat 62′minutes
- 8DelaneySubstituted forJensenat 72′minutesBooked at 82mins
- 14DamsgaardBooked at 69minsSubstituted forCorneliusat 72′minutes
- 20PoulsenSubstituted forNÃ¸rgaardat 62′minutes
- 11Skov Olsen
- 13M Jorgensen
- 17Stryger Larsen
- 19DendonckerSubstituted forWitselat 59′minutes
- 16T HazardBooked at 90minsSubstituted forVermaelenat 90+5′minutes
- 14MertensSubstituted forDe Bruyneat 45′minutes
- 11CarrascoSubstituted forE Hazardat 59′minutes
- 7De Bruyne
- 10E Hazard
Match ends, Denmark 1, Belgium 2.
Second Half ends, Denmark 1, Belgium 2.
Attempt blocked. Martin Braithwaite (Denmark) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Pierre-Emile HÃ¸jbjerg.
Corner, Belgium. Conceded by Andreas Skov Olsen.
Attempt blocked. Thomas Meunier (Belgium) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is blocked. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne.
Substitution, Belgium. Thomas Vermaelen replaces Thorgan Hazard.
Thorgan Hazard (Belgium) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Thorgan Hazard (Belgium).
Andreas Skov Olsen (Denmark) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Offside, Belgium. Kevin De Bruyne tries a through ball, but Romelu Lukaku is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Mathias Jensen (Denmark) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Martin Braithwaite.
Attempt blocked. Andreas Cornelius (Denmark) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Pierre-Emile HÃ¸jbjerg (Denmark) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Joakim Maehle.
Martin Braithwaite (Denmark) hits the bar with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Andreas Skov Olsen with a cross.
Substitution, Denmark. Andreas Skov Olsen replaces Jannik Vestergaard.
Mathias Jensen (Denmark) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Youri Tielemans (Belgium) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Mathias Jensen (Denmark).
Foul by Romelu Lukaku (Belgium).
Jannik Vestergaard (Denmark) wins a free kick in the defensive half.