Euro 2024 day three: Eriksen's feel-good moment, Bellingham – and police incidents

Another day at Euro 2024, another trio of goalscoring games — even if the entertainment factor dipped off at points.

Germany’s 5-1 win over Scotland opened the tournament on Friday, while on Saturday, Switzerland beat Hungary 3-1, Spain won 3-0 against Croatia and Italy turned their game against Albania around to triumph 2-1.

On Sunday, the goals kept coming. The Netherlands overcame Poland with a 2-1 win, Denmark were held to a 1-1 draw by Slovenia, while England beat Serbia 1-0.

The high-scoring games mean we have now seen 22 goals across the first seven games — a dip from the open two days, but still an impressive return so far. And this happened despite Serbia and England posting a total of just 11 shots between them, the lowest on record at a European Championship.

But the goals, a lack of shots in one game and the results don’t tell the whole story of the day. We’ve got that covered.

The feel-good moment of the day

Sunday marked 1,100 days since Christian Eriksen collapsed at Copenhagen’s Parken stadium during a Euro 2020 game against Finland after suffering a cardiac arrest. For 13 agonising minutes, Eriksen lay on the turf. Team doctor Morten Boesen later explained, “We got him back after one defibrillator. That is quite fast. How close were we? I don’t know.”

He returned to action later in 2021, joined Manchester United, and then, on Sunday, was back on the pitch for Denmark at a European Championship.

In the 17th minute, his Manchester United teammate Rasmus Hojlund won a throw-in. A cross from the right fizzed its way into the penalty area. A backheeled flick from Jonas Wind saw the ball meet an onrushing Eriksen, who controlled it with his chest and finished smartly into the bottom corner.


The Briefing: Slovenia 1 Denmark 1 – Eriksen’s Hollywood moment and why was Sesko frustrated?

This was Eriksen’s 42nd goal for Denmark, one that was cancelled out by Erik Janza’s deflected goal for Slovenia, but surely the most emotional of the lot.

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Eriksen scored for Denmark against Slovenia (Damien Meyer/AFP via Getty Images)

Although Eriksen, it seemed, found the humour in it: “It was nice. As I said yesterday, I’ve already played more games now than I did the last Euros, so that’s a win for me…”

Carl Anka

Serbia’s national team manager, Dragan Stojkovic, spoke on Saturday night about not letting Bellingham control the ball, play a pass and then run into empty space. Stojkovic said his players had been working on stopping that all week.

Well, it took all of 13 minutes for Bellingham to take possession on the halfway line, pass sideways to Kyle Walker, who then slipped it into Bukayo Saka running in behind.

Bellingham, off the ball, continued his run past several sleeping Serbia players and met Saka’s cross with a perfectly timed header to give England the lead.

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Bellingham scoring the only goal as England beat Serbia (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Aged only 20, it may be too soon to say Bellingham’s greatness is inevitable, but he was flawless in England’s Euro 2024 opener. Whether it was a delicious, nonchalant half-volley pass to Walker or starting a bit of needle with Filip Kostic off the ball, the Real Madrid star was everywhere.

Asked about his header, Bellingham said: “I’ve got used to getting in the box. I wanted to carry my form into the Euros. It’s a great start for me personally to get my confidence up. Helping us win the game was the most important thing.”

Bellingham has already shown how crucial he is to England, who with the 1-0 win managed only their second European Championship opening game win in 11 attempts. He’s not fazed by anything, but will be key to England if they want to have a chance of winning Euro 2024.

Dan Sheldon

Man shot by police near fan park

A man was shot in the leg by police at around 12.30pm on Sunday after threatening them with an axe near a Euro 2024 fan park.

The man was holding an “axe-like object” and a Molotov cocktail during the incident, which took place near the Reeperbahn, a popular entertainment district in Hamburg’s city centre. A statement said: “A person threatened police officers with a pickaxe and an incendiary device.

“The police then used their firearms. The attacker was injured and is currently receiving medical treatment.”

No emergency services or other bystanders were injured, police said. A football connection has not currently been found, police say, “nor are there currently any insights into other motivations.”

The incident took place about five miles from Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion, which is where the Netherlands beat Poland on Sunday afternoon.

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Seven arrests were also made ahead of England’s opening game against Serbia.

Footage emerged that appeared to show a number of supporters involved in a mass brawl outside a restaurant. Chairs and other furniture were thrown before local police stepped in to defuse tensions.

Local police indicated that the incident involved fans from both England and Serbia and later confirmed that seven people — all Serbian citizens — were subsequently taken into custody while a criminal complaint was filed for grievous bodily harm.

Jacob Whitehead and Dan Sheldon

Are the Netherlands dark horses?

The Netherlands are one of Europe’s more significant footballing nations, but they have been in and out of tournaments in recent years. In 2016 they missed the European Championship and were then absent from the 2018 World Cup.

On Sunday, despite missing key players like Frenkie de Jong, they managed to turn around their game against Poland to win 2-1. They have a defined system, and they can be considered dark horses for this summer’s competition.

That much was confirmed when Wout Weghorst scored with his first touch, just two minutes after coming onto the pitch as a substitute. This was much like his brace against Argentina at the World Cup, when he came on from the bench, scored twice and took the quarter-final to extra-time.

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Against Poland, he thumped home Ake’s deflected pass, which fell perfectly to him in the box. His 83rd-minute strike secured an important opening win.

The Netherlands will need to be more technically impressive than this to go deep in Euro 2024, but Ronald Koeman’s side were far superior to Poland.

Michael Cox and Andy Jones

Stat of the day

It would be remiss of us not to mention a bit more Jude Bellingham, so here we go. Bellingham quite rightly was the standout player of England’s win over Serbia, and has now achieved a historic feat.

You would find it very difficult to argue that the Real Madrid midfielder did not deserve a place at each of those tournaments, especially after his crucial goal for England on Sunday.

What’s next?

There are three games to come on Monday.

(Top photo: Damien Meyer/AFP via Getty Images)

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