Belgium win, Eriksen ok, in UEFA Euro 2021 action

UEFA Euro 2021 Christian Eriksen
UEFA Euro 2021 Christian Eriksen

In UEFA Euro 2021 Group A action


Earlier today, Denmark’s Christian Eriksen was taken to the hospital after collapsing at the 43rd minute, in UEFA Euro 2021 Group B match against Finland at Parkem Stadium, in Copenhagen. He was subsequently reported as stable and undergoing observation.

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Opening UEFA Euro 2021 Group B play, Belgium played without Kevin de Bruyne and Axel Witsel, and mostly without Eden Hazard, and still easily defeated Russia 3-0 with a Romelu Lukaku brace, at St. Petersburg’s Gazprom Arena (Krestovsky Stadium) earning three points and a +3 goal differential to lead their group.

The Belgians were nevertheless not impressive as it was a stumbling performance marked as much by their superior skills as by the Russian’s missteps. It remains to be seen how the team will develop as their stars reintegrate the starting lineup and as those stars get tested by better competitors.

In the other match of the group, Finland defeated Denmark 1-0 after the Eriksen incident required a game delay. Unfortunately for the Danes, it was Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg–who had earlier been among those consoling Eriksen’s girlfriend, who had rushed to his side on the pitch–who was tasked with taking the penalty Eriksen would likely have taken. Hojbierg shot poorly and the penalty was saved giving Finland the upset win. It is unlikely the Danes will be as strong or as favored in their group without their talisman player going forward.

In UEFA Euro 2021 Group A action

In Friday’s opening game of UEFA Euro 2021, the first game in Group A, Turkey played the most lackluster match they have played in over two years and deservedly lost 0-3 to Italy in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. For a team which had beaten France 2-0 in 2019, and the Netherlands 4-2 in March, this team seemed to be sleepwalking for most of the game. As of this writing, it is not clear if the team was simply tired or if something else behind the scenes was going on.

After the match, Turkey coach, Senol Gunes, was at pains to describe his team’s performance and react to the negative reaction of Turkish fans on social media. “I do not know the criticisms on social media, the competition has just ended. If we look at the whole match, neither I nor my players are satisfied with the score and the game. It’s okay to be upset when you lose, but…Every match of the national team is important. Now we will prepare for the Wales game, let’s put aside the morale of this game and look at the next games. We still have a chance to leave [make it out of] the group…said Gunes.

Today, in the second group game, Switzerland dominated Wales and pulled ahead deservedly in the 49th minute when poorly marked Cameroonian striker, Breel Embolo, headed home from close range. Embolo, who became a Swiss citizen at 17, waltzed through the Wales defense most of the match and was unlucky not to score on several prior occasions. But the Swiss seemed as content in the second half with their one-score lead as the Welsh seemed with the 0-0 draw in the first half. So, when the Rossocrociati allowed the Dragons long bouts of possession the Welsh took advantage and equalized, also via a header, courtesy of 6-foot-5 striker Kieffer Moore at the 74th. The 1-1 draw seemed a high price to pay for the Swiss who now have their two toughest group matches ahead. For Wales, it was also a missed opportunity, but a point salvaged on a night they were not up to the competition.

The UEFA Euro 2021 continues tomorrow with the headline match being Croatia vs England.

 

Photo 183715202 / Christian Eriksen © Cosmin Iftode | Dreamstime.com

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