Christian Eriksen is awake and in a stable condition at a Copenhagen hospital after collapsing during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 game with Finland.
The 29-year-old fell to the ground unchallenged towards the end of the first half of Denmark’s first group game, and it quickly became apparent that Eriksen was in need of urgent medical assistance. Medical personnel raced onto the field and subsequently administered CPR in front of distraught teammates, supporters and millions of viewers at home.
Eriksen’s Danish teammates formed a protective shield around their stricken colleague as medics battled to save his life, and after around 15 minutes of treatment he was taken away on a stretcher and transported to a local hospital.
Thankfully, as UEFA confirmed that the game had been suspended indefinitely, Eriksen’s condition stabilised – and he was pictured awake and wearing an oxygen mask in images widely circulated on social media.
Both teams and match officials held what was described as a ‘crisis meeting’, as they awaited further information about his condition. It was initially thought the game would be postponed, but there was soon confirmation from the Danish FA that the game would be resumed – after some players had personally spoken to Eriksen via FaceTime.
The game got back underway at 20:30 local time, with Denmark going on to lose 1-0 thanks to Joel Pohjanpalo’s second half header. But the result paled into insignificance on a day where everybody was reminded of the fragility of life, a sentiment highlighted by head coach Kasper Hjulmand at the conclusion of the game.
“First of all, if it gets emotional, it’s been a tough night. We are all reminded of what the most important thing in life is – to have valuable relationships, people we’re close to, our family and our friends,” Hjulmand said, quoted by BBC Sport.
“We have a group of players that I cannot praise enough. I couldn’t be prouder of those people who took such good care of each other. He is one of my very dear friends, the way the players talked in the dressing room to decide to not do anything before we knew Christian was conscious and OK.”
Hjulmand then confirmed that Denmark had been given two options in regards to finishing the game, before admitting that his players had understandably struggled to keep their emotions in check once play had resumed.
“We had two options to play the game [today] or tomorrow at 12pm and everyone agreed to play today,” he added. “You can’t play a game with such feelings. We tried to win. It was incredible they managed to go out and try to play the second half.
“Honestly, there were players out there that were completely done. Emotionally done and emotionally exhausted.”
As you’d expect, there has been a huge outpouring of support for Eriksen from clubs, players and millions of fans around the world. There was also a message of warmth from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who said in a statement: “Moments like this put everything in life into perspective. I wish Christian a full and speedy recovery and pray his family has strength and faith.
“At these times, the unity of the football family is so strong and he and his family carry with them the good wishes and prayers of everyone. I heard of fans of both teams chanting his name. Football is beautiful and Christian plays it beautifully.”