Andreas Christensen dedicated his spectacular goal that helped Denmark qualify for the knockout stages of Euro 2020 to team-mate Christian Eriksen.
Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eriksen suffered and thankfully survived a cardiac arrest during his nation’s opening game of the tournament, but despite two defeats, they’ve qualified for the round-of-16.
Chelsea defender Christensen scored Denmark’s third goal as they hammered Russia 4-1 in Copenhagen to earn second spot in Group B on goal difference after head-to-head went out the window.
His unexpected strike from outside the penalty area re-established the Danes’ two-goal advantage at the Parken Stadium and the 25-year-old made a classy gesture during the wild celebrations.
Following his ferocious effort that flew past Russian goalkeeper Matvey Safonov, Christensen held up his hands and made the 10 symbol, the number Eriksen has donned for Denmark since 2014.
The centre-back’s stunning goal made it 3-1 on the night after Russia had pulled one back from the penalty spot following Danish strikes either side of half-time.
20-year-old reported Tottenham Hotspur target Mikkel Damsgaard scored a cracker of his own on the 38-minute mark before Yussuf Poulsen capitalised on a stray passback from Spartak Moscow’s Roman Zobnin.
Somewhat poetically, Damsgaard is Eriksen’s replacement in the side and his goal was one his absent team-mate would no-doubt have been proud of if he’d it scored himself as the crowd erupted.
Artem Dzyuba tucked home a controversial penalty past Kasper Schmeichel to set up a tense finale with 20 minutes remaining but Christensen and Joakim Maehle (who also made the 10 symbol) put the game to bed within three minutes of each other in the closing stages.
The atmosphere only improved when news of Belgium’s winning goals against Finland came through.
Eriksen’s collapse shook not just the footballing world on the second day of the tournament as prays poured in from across the globe.
Relieving, he was recently discharged from hospital and is said to have visited his team-mates at their training facility during their preparations for Tuesday’s all-or-nothing match.
After restarting the affair in which Eriksen collapsed just under two hours after the incident occurred, an understandably shellshocked Denmark went on to lose their opening match to Finland – on an evening where football rightfully took the back seat – and that result was followed by defeat courtesy of Belgium in midweek.
But, backed by their rousing home support and galvanised by the traumatic events of Saturday, June 12, the Danes made it through with one emphatic win to their name and the footballing world behind them.
Kasper Hjulmand’s men will now face Wales in Amsterdam on Saturday for a battle of the European Championship dark horses.
The teams will be fighting for a place in the quarter-finals against either the Netherlands or a currently undecided third-placed nation.
Monday’s results also mean that Austria will meet Italy at Wembley on Saturday night.
Regardless of what happens to Denmark from now on, they’ve made their nation and Eriksen more than proud.