Football

Recovering Christian Eriksen thanks well-wishers

Former clubmate Alderweireld says Belgium not keenly awaiting Denmark game

As Denmark's Christian Eriksen recovers from cardiac arrest, his former clubmates who play for Belgium said they are not eagerly anticipating the date with the Danes tomorrow.

Yesterday, Eriksen posted a photo of himself giving the thumbs-up sign from his hospital bed, along with a message - his first since collapsing during Saturday's game against Finland at Parken Stadium.

      EURO 2020: GROUP B
DENMARK BELGIUM

"Big thanks for your sweet and amazing greetings and messages from all around the world. It means a lot to me and my family," the 29-year-old midfielder said in a post on the national team's Instagram account.

"I'm fine - under the circumstances. I still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay. Now, I will cheer on the boys on the Denmark team in the next matches. Play for all of Denmark."

Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld is not looking forward to the game in Copenhagen, coming so soon after the dramatic scene of his former teammate's on-field collapse and subsequent resuscitation.

"It's not pleasant to have to play them now. But it won't be fun for the Danes either," he said, in a clip posted on social media by the Belgian football association.

"It can go in two ways - it can give them extra strength, or maybe not. But I think we have to look at ourselves and approach that game as professionally as possible. And also try to win it. That's all we can do."

Alderweireld was a teammate of Eriksen's at both Ajax Amsterdam and Tottenham Hotspur.

"I have known Christian for a long time. When I heard the news, I was no longer thinking about my own match. At that moment, you are just seeking information about whether he is doing well," he said, referring to hearing about Eriksen's collapse before the Belgians' 3-0 Group B win over Russia.

"So not just me, but everyone was really happy and relieved when we got the news on the bus ride to our game that he was conscious and could even talk."

Denmark will be a tougher challenge for the Belgians, according to Alderweireld.

He said: "You just feel that they have a lot of qualities and have a clear idea of how they want to play.

"They will be a very difficult opponent and it is also an away game. Their crowd will be 100 per cent behind them. We will have to be at our top form to score points there."

The Belgians received a boost when Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne returned to training on Monday, after recovering from a double facial fracture suffered in last month's Champions League final. - REUTERS

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