General view of the big screen with a message for Denmark's Christian Eriksen after he collapsed on the pitch during his side's Euro 2020 match with Finland on June 12 2021 . Picture: REUTERS/JUSTIN TALLIS
General view of the big screen with a message for Denmark's Christian Eriksen after he collapsed on the pitch during his side's Euro 2020 match with Finland on June 12 2021 . Picture: REUTERS/JUSTIN TALLIS

Copenhagen — Denmark’s Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest when he collapsed during his side’s Euro 2020 opening match against Finland, his team’s doctor confirmed on Sunday, but the reason remained unclear.

“He was gone; we did cardiac resuscitation, it was a cardiac arrest. We got him back after one defib [defibrillation],” Morten Boesen told a news conference, adding that Eriksen remained in hospital for further tests after his collapse on Saturday.

“The exams that have been done so far look fine,” Boesen added. “We don’t have an explanation to why it happened.”

Eriksen, 29, collapsed suddenly in the 42nd minute of the match while running near the left touchline after a Denmark throw-in. As a hush fell over the 16,000-strong crowd, his teammates gathered around him while he was treated on the pitch and then carried off on a stretcher.

The Danish players had been in contact with Eriksen via a video conference, said Peter Moller, director of Danish football association DBU. Coach Kasper Hjulmand said Eriksen had told him he did not remember much from Saturday’s collapse and that he was eager to get back on to the pitch.

Hjulmand quoted the midfielder as saying: “I think you are feeling worse than I am. I feel as if I’m about to go training now, boys.”

“Christian is in good spirits and it’s a huge relief for the players after all this uncertainty,” Hjulmand said. “There is no doubt that we have been on the ropes.”

Messages of support for Eriksen, who plays for Inter Milan and formerly turned out  for Tottenham Hotspur in London, have poured in.

The Group B game was halted and eventually restarted an hour and 45 minutes later. Finland went on to win 1-0. 

Meanwhile, former Danish internationals Peter Schmeichel and Michael Laudrup have harshly criticised governing body Uefa over their handling of the collapse of  Eriksen.

Uefa offered the players the choice of either resuming the game on Saturday night, or beginning again on Sunday at noon local time. “It’s a ridiculous decision by Uefa, they should have tried to work out a different scenario and shown a little  compassion, and they didn’t,” said Schmeichel, whose son Kasper was in goal for Denmark when the incident occurred.

“Something terrible like that happens and Uefa gives the players an option to go out and play the game or come back at noon on Sunday. What kind of option is that?

“There is no way that game should have been played last night. Not one player on that pitch was in the right mindset to be playing a game of football,”  said Peter Schmeichel.

His sentiments were echoed by Laudrup, widely considered to be one of the greatest players ever to play for Denmark. “When such things happen, you are in the throes of your emotions, and you do not have the capacity and oversight to make important decisions. There must be someone who says ‘now we’re going to do this, and now we stop here’,” he told Denmark’s TV3.

“They were given a choice that is not a choice — play tonight, or play tomorrow at 12. That is not a choice,” Laudrup said.

Reuters

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