Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku has revealed that he and his teammates plan to kick the ball out of play in the tenth minute of their game against Denmark on Thursday to pay tribute to Christian Eriksen.
Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during the Dane’s opening game of the Euros against Finland on Saturday, and had to be resuscitated on the pitch in hugely traumatic scenes.
Fortunately he is now recovering in hospital, and has sent a message saying he will be watching the rest of his country’s games in the tournament as he continues to get better.
Lukaku, who plays alongside Eriksen at Inter Milan, shouted “Chris, I love you!” into a camera after he scored in Belgium’s 3-0 victory over Russia just hours after his club teammate collapsed.
And speaking ahead of Thursday’s match in Copenhagen he explained how he and the rest of the side plan to show Denmark’s No.10 they are thinking of him.
“After ten minutes of the match we will put the ball in touch to applaud,” Lukaku said.
“Several players from our country have played with him but we will be there to win and that is the most important.”
Lukaku also wishes to visit Eriksen in hospital before Belgium travel to Saint Petersburg for their final Group B game against Finland, but as of yet it is not clear if he will be permitted to do so due to Covid protocols.
He added: “I just got a message from Eriksen telling me he was fine, and I told him if he wanted to talk I was there.
“I will send him a little message before the game. I will let him spend time with his family. A lot of people will try to message him. I will let him recover.”
Belgium manager Roberto Martinez also said they are planning a gesture for Eriksen ahead of kick-off in what is sure to be a massively emotional occasion.
“Football is not the same if Eriksen is not on the football pitch,” he said. “We hope he can make a full recovery and be back with the Denmark team and the Inter Milan team.
“The players will make a gesture at the beginning of the game.”
After Russia beat Finland on Tuesday, a Denmark win against the Belgians would see the tantalising prospect of all four teams in the group being level on three points going into the final round of fixtures.
A Belgium win, however, would see them all but secure top spot as they look to progress deep into the knockout stages of the tournament.