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TRAGEDY: Belgian Goalkeeper, 25, dies having collapsed on pitch after saving penalty

Arne Espeel, a 25-year-old Belgian goalkeeper, died shortly after saving a penalty whilst in action for Winkel Sport B as attempts to revive him after collapsing on the pitch were unsuccessful.

Belgian goalkeeper Arne Espeel has died suddenly whilst turning out for Winkel Sport B.

The 25-year-old collapsed suddenly shortly after saving a penalty in a game against Westrozebeke. Emergency services tried their best to save him with a defibrillator also used, but Espeel was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital.

The game took place at the club’s home ground in Sint-Eloois-Winkel, West Flanders Province, Belgium. They were playing a game in the second provincial division of West Brabant when the tragedy struck.

The away side was awarded a penalty at the start of the second half and Espeel pulled off a fine save but reportedly dropped to the ground immediately afterwards. The cause of death has not yet been determined and an autopsy is scheduled to be carried out today (13 February).

His club issued a statement that read: “Winkel Sport is in very deep mourning at the sudden passing of goalkeeper Arne Espeel. We wish Arne’s family and friends our heartfelt condolences at this heavy loss. Football is taking a back seat for some time.”

Winkel Sport B assistant Stefaan Dewerchin said on the incident: “The ball was still in play. Our goalkeeper got up as fast as possible to receive the ball, but then he fell. It was really terrible to watch. All the players showered together after the incident. When the message came that our goalkeeper was dead, it was an unusually heavy blow. I think some players still don’t realise exactly what happened.”

Sports director Patrick Rotsaert also told Het Nieuwsblad: “It’s a tragedy and a shock to us. Arne had been with the club his whole life, and he was dearly loved. It’s a really hard blow.”

Members of the club, fans as well as the player’s family and friends will take a walk through the streets of Sint-Eloois-Winkel as a tribute to the goalkeeper on Monday.

©Mirror Sports

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