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De Bruyne didn’t celebrate out of ‘respect’ for Denmark fans

Copenhagen (AFP) – Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said he did not celebrate his winning goal against Denmark in Copenhagen on Thursday out of “respect” for the home fans following the collapse of Christian Eriksen last week.

The players and spectators paid tribute to Eriksen with a minute’s applause after 10 minutes at a Parken Stadium adorned with banners showing supporters’ support for Denmark’s star player, who suffered a cardiac arrest during their opening game against Finland.

De Bruyne, making his first appearance of the tournament after recovering from the facial fractures he suffered in the Champions League final, came off the bench to set up Thorgan Hazard’s equaliser and then score a 70th-minute winner.

“(Coach) Roberto Martinez got me into the game by asking me to create space. I scored,” Manchester City player De Bruyne told RTBF.

“But I didn’t want to celebrate that goal. I have too much respect for the Danish fans.”

The 2-1 win sends Belgium, who trailed to Yussuf Poulsen’s second-minute opener, into the knockout phase for the second straight European Championship.

“We can be happy,” said De Bruyne. “We knew that there would be difficult moments against Denmark and in front of this crowd, with everything that happened.”

Belgium face Finland in Saint Petersburg on Monday knowing a point would be enough to secure top spot in Group B.

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