Denmark 1-2 Belgium: Red Devils fight hard for victory in Copenhagen as tributes paid to Christian Eriksen
 (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY / POOL / AFP) (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Belgium booked their place in the knockout stages of Euro 2020 by defeating Denmark in a thoroughly entertaining game.

After the dramatic scenes that marred their first game, Denmark returned to action on Thursday evening in group B facing Belgium in front of a partisan home crowd at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.

Thousands gathered in the Danish capital for the game, which was an emotional one with the fans and players alike playing their tributes to Christian Eriksen, while also celebrating his recovery after the midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest in their opening game with Finland last weekend.

Story of the game

The crowd made their presence felt immediately in the game and with Eriksen in their minds and hearts, the Danes had the perfect start to the encounter, Yussuf Poulsen sending the stadium into raptures after just two minutes, firing past Thibaut Courtois in the Belgium goal.

Denmark would continue their lively start to proceedings all the way up to the tenth minute when the game was paused for a minute of applause, an opportunity to reflect on the near-fatal events that took place in the very same stadium only five days earlier. A beautiful and touching moment before the action resumed.

Belgium were far from themselves in the early parts of the game and found themselves being totally outplayed by Denmark, who were in full control against the number one seeds. An unorthodox position for The Red Devils to be in, a team so used to dictating play against their opponents.

Denmark continued to assert themselves in the first half and came agonisingly close to adding a second goal when Mikkel Damsgaard embarked on an impressive solo run, going past a handful of Belgium defenders before guiding his shot narrowly wide of the far post. Yet another warning for Belgium.

The commitment from Denmark was astonishing in the first half, with De rød-hvide pressing and chasing for every ball, giving Belgium no time or opportunities to create any openings. The two teams heading into the break with Denmark buoyant and on top, Belgium looking startled.

Belgium were a different team from the start of the second half however, boosted by the entrance of star player Kevin De Bruyne off the bench, who was quick to make an impact, penetrating the Danish defence and supplying Thorgan Hazard who cooly slotted past Kasper Schmeichel to level proceedings in the 54th minute.

After setting the tempo in the first half, Denmark were now very much on the backfoot and their objective very quickly turned to staying resolute defensively, to earn a point that would still be a good result.

But Belgium were now at their brilliant best and took the lead at the 70-minute mark, a beautiful team goal finished off by Kevin De Bruyne, who had been the game-changer after his introduction for the second half.

A sigh of relief will have surely been breathed by Belgium, who had to weather a storm of Danish pressure and dominance in the first half.

But Denmark were left to rue their missed chances in the first half, not taking full advantage of a woeful Belgium, who had finally waken up and were now showing their true selves.

There was little action in the last 20 minutes of the game except from Martin Braithwaite going close, with Belgium managing the closing parts of the encounter extremely well, holding on for a victory that books their ticket for the knockout stages.

As for Denmark, they're down but not out and still have a chance, albeit a small one, of joining Belgium in the last 16. A harsh result for the Danes, who once again did themselves their supporters and Christian Eriksen proud, in what was another emotional game. 

Takeaways from the game

De Bruyne rescues Belgium

After a woeful first half showing, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez would've headed to the dressing room knowing changes were a must for the second half.

While Belgium would've been keen to rest their star man Kevin De Bruyne for the game, with the 29-year-old still recovering from an injury suffered in the Champions League final in May. they needed to make a change for the second half and the entrance of De Bruyne was a must.

De Bruyne was at his brilliant best for Belgium after his entrance and his goal and assist were very much the changing point in the game. A warning for all those watching that he is firing on all cylinders, a huge boost for Belgium in their bid to win their first major tournament.

Man of the match

Kevin De Bruyne

Who else could be the man of the match other than the aforementioned Kevin De Bruyne, who was astonishing for Belgium after replacing Dries Mertens at the half time break.

De Bruyne sparkled like he so often does and played the key role in Belgium's second half comeback, a win that seals their place in the knockout stages of the tournament, with one group game to spare.

The Manchester City man is one of the very best players the continent has to offer and if this is a sign of what's to come, he could single-handedly carry Belgium to silverware.

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