Denmark manager Kasper Kasper Hjulmand has paid an emotional tribute to star player Christian Eriksen after yesterday’s 4-1 win over Russia that saw the Scandinavian country progress into the last 16 of Euro 2020.
The Danes were without Eriksen, who left the footballing world shell-shocked when he collapsed during the opening game against Finland, with what was later revealed to be a cardiac arrest.
Hjulmand revealed after the game that he kept Eriksen with him throughout the match by wearing a special ring in tribute to the Inter Milan playmaker, who has been recovering in hospital.
“I’ve never worn jewellery in my life. This is the first time I’m wearing jewellery. There’s a little football here and it’s Christian who is here with me,” Hjulmand told Denmark’s TV3+, as translated by the Metro.
“I had him with me all the way. I think about him a lot and he is – as I have always said – the heart of our team and we were fighting on for his sake today.
“He is a great inspiration to us.”
It’s clear that Denmark have been inspired to keep performing for their team-mate during this difficult time, and it’s some achievement that they’ve been able to re-focus after the trauma of witnessing Eriksen’s collapse and losing that first group game to Finland.
It remains to be seen when Eriksen will return to action, or even if he does at all, but for now it’s been truly moving to see how this Denmark team has responded in the absence of their team-mate.