Denmark Sports
Denmark advanced to the Round of 16 in the Euros despite the challenges they faced over the past week. (Image Credit: Getty Images)

The Best Story In Sports Today: Denmark

Everyone, even those who do not follow the Euros, soccer, or sports in general, should nevertheless celebrate the incredible turn of events that has been put upon the Denmark men’s national team over the past nine days.

Two Saturdays ago, the soccer world stood still as Christian Eriksen lay lifeless on the ground. Although Eriksen is now safely on the road to recovery, viewers saw the emotion of the fans in Copenhagen, the heartbreak on his teammates’ faces, and the effect it had on his family, his wife in particular. I would prefer to avoid falling down a rabbit hole, but the manner in which the television networks handled the situation was beyond pitiful. There was no reason to focus on Eriksen’s wife watching helplessly. Go back to the studio, change what is being shown on the channel, fade to black, anything other than the scene would have been acceptable. Screw journalistic integrity, the soccer world did not need the incessant camera angles and pans of the situation unfolding.

Initially, the team looked dejected. They came back on the field a mere 90 minutes after Eriksen was resuscitated following his cardiac arrest. Denmark looked lethargic in their opening loss 1-0 to Finland, but the team rallied and nearly overcame Belgium, one of the worldwide giants of soccer.

And today, we saw that the gods of sports are good. Denmark was on the brink of elimination and faced a Russian squad that merely needed a draw to likely advance to the Round of 16. Denmark not only had to win this game by two or more goals but also hope that Belgium – who had already won the group – beat Finland. Fortunately for the Danes, both requirements came to fruition.

Denmark took a lead in the waning minutes of the first half. A ball outside of the 18-yard box found the foot of Mikkel Damsgaard as he bent it into the upper 90 to give his country and soccer fans everywhere a glimmer of hope. That hope was magnified when Yussuf Poulsen scored in the 59th minute to make it 2-0. At that point, the Belgium-Finland game was still nil-nil, but Eriksen’s teammates had handled their business.

Then Russia scored. I cannot imagine the feelings in the stadium or on the pitch when this occurred, but much like their captain Eriksen, the Denmark national team showed great resolve and strength. They hunkered down and prayed for a gift.

That gift came in the form of a goal from central defender Andreas Christensen. The Chelsea product has struggled in moments at the Euros but has performed well for the team overall, and this goal etched his name in the history books.

They had done it. With 12 minutes plus extra time remaining, Denmark was up two goals, and Belgium had taken the lead against Finland in the meantime. Denmark had overcome the angst and heartbreak of the past nine days to move past the group stage and squarely into the Round of 16. All soccer/football/fútbol fans won today, and we should celebrate Denmark’s win, as the team’s comeback from such trauma exemplifies the stories and moments that make sports so beloved. Get well soon Christian Eriksen, the world is rooting for you.

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