SUNDAY’S HEADLINES

NOTHING ELSE MATTERS

Football is a game that unites us, for so many it is a form of escapism.
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That’s why when we see something like what happened to Christian Eriksen on Saturday it is so hard to know what to do.
Ultimately all you can do is pray for Eriksen, his family, friends and Danish teammates.
Today, we give thanks to those teammates for their incredible quick-thinking in getting him into the recovery position, getting the medical staff on as soon as possible and then surrounding him to protect his privacy.
Give thanks to those incredible medical staff, who were quick onto the pitch and did everything they could to save Eriksen. Their work was nothing short of heroic.
You don’t want to single out any individuals when so many people did what they could to save Eriksen but Denmark captain Simon Kjaer showed an astonishing level of strength, compassion and quick-thinking. It was he who made sure Eriksen hadn’t swallowed his tongue, he who comforted Eriksen’s distraught partner, a scene we shouldn’t have seen if TV cameras had cut away quicker.
That the Danish team felt up to returning to the pitch was an astonishing show of strength. Although as manager Kasper Hjulmand said, they had to pick between playing that day again or the next day at 12pm. That in of itself probably needs discussing at some point.
That they lost to Finland doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that Eriksen is stable and conscious. That he was able to reportedly FaceTime with his team-mates from hospital is fantastic news and hopefully the first step on a speedy road to recovery.

THIS IS A GAME FOR ALL

You remember that first line in the first story? Well let’s say it again.
Football is a game that unites us, for so many it is a form of escapism.
Escapism does not mean that you get to go and boo players taking a knee to protest social injustice.
It is not about free speech, it’s about not accepting the extreme prejudice that has dogged this country for years and continues until this day.
You cannot claim to a supporter of the England national team and then boo the players who are taking the knee.
You are not being denied your free speech, you are saying that you don’t value the experiences that players you are cheering when they score have been through, not to mention millions across the country.
The message England put out on Sunday made it abundantly clear, they’re doing their best, so do yours. Anything less is not acceptable in 2021.

BIG ROM MEANS BUSINESS

There can’t be too many people left in the world who still honestly think Romelu Lukaku is, to quote “a fraud,” but he’s certainly gotten his latest redemption campaign off to a brilliant start.
Lukaku was ruthless as he poached two goals during Belgium’s comprehensive 3-0 win over Russia in their first match of Euro 2020. He’s already looking like a great bet to win the Golden Boot.
His message to his Inter club teammate Eriksen was, of course, a beautiful moment, and in an era where so many sportsman fall short as regular people it’s nice to see a superstar who from all reports just seems to be a wonderful human being, who happens to be a phenomenal striker.
A striker who, we feel we should point out, is now into the top 30 international scorers of all-time and has only just turned 28. Maybe this is Belgium’s year.

HAT-TIP

Goran has a special energy that brings people close to him, Trenchovski says. He’s like a leader in the national team, but also like a leader of the nation.
For the second day in a row shout-out to the Guardian and this time Nick Ames on what Goran Pandev means to North Macedonia as a country, not just a football team.

RETRO CORNER

It’s England v Croatia today so that means that you can take your pick of any kind of content. Maybe you want to re-live Croatia’s success in the 2018 World Cup semi-final. Or how about England’s comprehensive 4-1 and 5-1 wins in World Cup qualifying ahead of the 2010 World Cup. Or maybe Croatia’s famous 3-2 win in Wembley?
In fact we’re going to pick none of those, and instead celebrate one of the finest performances by an Englishman at a European Championships, namely one Wayne Rooney. Enjoy.

COMING UP

MORE FOOTBALL
We’re just going to copy and paste that into every Warm-Up for the next couple of weeks. Today we have England v Croatia as we said as well as Austria v North Macedonia and the Netherlands up against the Ukraine. Some tasty dark horses there. Keep your fingers crossed we’re going to have some more updates on Christian Eriksen.
Andi Thomas has been playing ‘Three Lions’ on repeat for the past 24 hours and will be here on Monday to tell you all about the latest masterclass from Harry Kane/England collapse at a major tournament. Hopefully he won’t be here to tell you about ignorant booing at Wembley.
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