Soccer-Belgium's Alderweireld not looking forward to Denmark game


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - December 6, 2020 Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld applauds the fans during the warm up before the match Pool via REUTERS/Paul Childs

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld is not looking forward to Thursday’s European Championship match against Denmark in Copenhagen, coming so soon after the drama of Christian Eriksen’s on-field collapse.

Eriksen suffered a heart attack just before halftime in the game against Finland and received CPR on the pitch before being taken to hospital, where he is recovering.

"It’s not pleasant to have to play them now," Alderweireld, a former team mate of Eriksen's, said on Tuesday.

"But it won't be fun for the Danes either," Alderweireld added 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 team mate 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.

"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."

Alderweireld expects there to be a lot of sympathy for Denmark.

"How they dealt with that situation was incredible," he said. "A textbook example. They have my eternal respect for that. But we will try to win."

After Belgium's 3-0 victory in their opening Group B match against Russia, Denmark will be a tougher challenge, according to Alderweireld.

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

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

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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