Christian Eriksen (29) is still in the hospital after collapsing on the pitch in Denmark’s opener at Euro 2020. OG News offers you all the updates on the breathtaking story that panicked the entire football world.
On Saturday afternoon, the sun was shining warmly in Copenhagen. Danish and Finnish supporters gathered outside the Parken Arena, happy to be part of their nations’ debut at the historical Euro 2020. Even though the competition has been seriously affected by the pandemic and postponed for a year, UEFA insisted the tournament should be played under conditions as “normal as possible.”
This year’s edition marks the 60th anniversary of the European Championship. It was supposed to be played in 12 cities throughout the continent. Dublin was dropped as a host city at the last minute, while Bilbao was replaced by another Spanish City, Sevilla.
The football parade started on Friday evening, in Roma, and was supposed to continue on the same note over the weekend. But 42 minutes into the game in Copenhagen, something went terribly wrong. Eriksen, Denmark’s best player, collapsed on the pitch and needed emergency attention from the doctors at Parken Stadium. He received CPR and finally came back to life.
“He was gone, and we did cardiac resuscitation. It was a cardiac arrest,” the Danish national team doctor Morten Boesen told the media.
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Eriksen woke up after one shock by a defibrillator. He was taken to an ambulance, then to a hospital in the Danish capital.
The brotherhood: Danish players ‘built a wall’ around Eriksen
Immediately after realizing the situation was serious, Denmark captain Simon Kjaer turned Eriksen on the side, then referee Anthony Taylor called the medics into action. “When we got there, he was lying on his side and was breathing and had a pulse. Pretty quickly, the picture changed, and then we started life-saving heart treatment,” doctor Morten Boesen recalled.
“We also got fantastic quick help from the stadium doctor and the rest of the emergency services. Everything necessary was implemented,” Boesen said. “We got Christian back, and he managed to talk to me before he was taken to the hospital for further investigation and examination.”
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Throughout the 20 minutes of despair on the pitch, in the stands, and at home, where millions were watching, Denmark’s players surrounded Eriksen and refused to move, trying to cover everything so he wouldn’t be spotted by the journalists or cameras. A few Finland supporters threw their flags on the grass, so Eriksen could be flanked properly. When Christian opened his eyes and was conscious again, he saw all his colleagues escorting him to the tunnel, on his way to the ambulance. It took the game two hours to resume. The players only agreed to resume play after Eriksen called them on Facetime from the hospital, telling them he was in a stable condition.
“There are players in there who are completely emotionally finished. Players who, on another day, could not have played this match. They are holding each other. It was a traumatic experience,” Denmark national team coach Kasper Hjulmand revealed after the game.
Kasper Hjulmand, Denmark’s coach, confessed that some of his players were “completely emotionally finished.”
The Danish side was given two options by the rules: return to the game and finish it on the pitch or come back the next day. The players didn’t want to hear about returning on Sunday.
“We knew we had two options. The players couldn’t imagine not being able to sleep tonight and then having to get on the bus and come in again tomorrow,” Hjulmand explained. “Honestly, it was best to get it over with. Of course, you can’t play a game with such feelings and what we tried to do was incredible.”
When the Danish players returned to the pitch to warm up for a second time, the public and the Finnish opponents gave them a big round of applause. It was a feeling of togetherness that reminded watchers what the spirit of football is all about. Denmark controlled the game and missed a lot of chances, and ended up losing the game 1-0. It was Finland’s first-ever goal for their first-ever win in their first participation in a final tournament.
Eriksen: ‘I will cheer on the boys. Play for all of Denmark’
Rigshospitalet, where Eriksen was transported after being resuscitated on the pitch, is less than a mile away from Parken Stadium. Inter Milan’s midfielder is still hospitalized and undergoing testing. After communicating with his colleagues. Christian sent a message through his agent to Italian paper Gazzetta dello Sport, saying he “won’t give up” and thanking all those who supported him throughout his awful experience.
On Tuesday, Eriksen posted a message on Instagram saying he is “fine – under the circumstances. I still have to go through examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay.”
Eriksen will continue watching his team’s games at Euro 2020. “I will cheer on the boys in the Denmark team in the next matches. Play for all of Denmark. Best, Christian,” he added.
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“We have had help from a psychological point of view at the hotel,” coach Hjulmand revealed, adding that Eriksen addressed his colleagues on Sunday evening. His words made some of the players cry. “I think you are feeling worse than I am. I feel as if I’m about to go training now, boys,” Eriksen said during the conversation.
Denmark is back in action on Thursday evening when they meet Belgium in Copenhagen. In their first group game, Belgium won against Russia 3-0. Romelu Lukaku, Eriksen’s colleague at Inter, dedicated his goals to the Dane. “I love you, Chris,” Lukaku screamed into the camera after his opener in St. Petersburg.