‘Chris, I Love You’ — Lukaku Delivers Message To Eriksen After Scoring vs. Russia

Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring against Russia and paid tribute to his Inter Milan teammate.

A couple hours after the soccer world fell to a hush as Christian Eriksen collapsed unconscious during the Denmark-Finland Euro 2020 match on Saturday, Belgium kicked off its match against Russia with three current or former teammates of Eriksen’s in the starting lineup. One of those teammates opened the scoring, Romelu Lukaku blasting Belgium into the lead in the 10th minute. The Inter Milan striker immediately sprinted to the nearest camera to deliver a message to Eriksen.

“Chris. Stertke jongen. I love you,” Lukaku said. (“Stertke jongen” translates roughly to “get well soon,” according to Reddit.)

It was an emotional moment for Lukaku, Eriksen, Belgium, Denmark and soccer players and fans around the world after a terrifying moment earlier in the day. Eriksen fell to the pitch unmoving with eyes open, with medical staff quickly arriving to perform CPR. 

Eriksen regained consciousness by the time he was stretchered off the field and the match was completed after a lengthy delay, with Finland pulling off a 1-0 upset of Denmark in Copenhagen.

Back in Saint Petersburg, Belgium battered Russia in the first half, both physically and on the scoreboard, on the way to a 3-0 victory.

Before the match, Belgium players took a knee in a show of support for anti-racist movements; Russia players stood and watched.

Romelu Lukaku, who has been a target of racist attacks playing for Inter Milan in Italy, scored 10 minutes in, a bit fortunate to be in the right place at the right time but making no mistake with the opportunity. 

Thomas Meunier doubled the lead in the 34th minute when keeper Anton Shunin spilled a long-range effort right to the wingback.

Meunier had come on seven minutes earlier to replace the injured Timothy Castagne, one of three first-half subs. Russia’s Yuri Zhirkov and Daler Kuzyaev both had to leave the match after a brutally physical opening 45 minutes. 

The match cooled a bit in the second half before Lukaku finished the game off with an 88th-minute goal. The strike was a feel-good cap to an eventful day, handing Belgium a well-deserved 3-0 victory.

The only other notable happening in the second half was Eden Hazard, who battled injuries all season, replacing Dries Mertens and playing alongside his brother Thorgan. 

After Saturday, Belgium tops Group B on goal difference over Finland. The next round of matches sees Finland against Russia and Belgium vs. Denmark on June 16 and 17, respectively.