The last Saturday will not likely vacate the minds of Danish player in time following shocking collapse of their teammate – Christian Eriksen in the match against Finland. First there was shock, then came despair, and, after an agonising wait, joyous relief.
From the moment Eriksen hit the ground, it was clear to all that Christian Eriksen’s life was under threat. So bizzare! A player falling to the ground under no challenge and seemingly with no injury.
He had just connected the ball from a throw-in, but seconds later was receiving cardiac resuscitation on the pitch from medics before being taken to hospital, where his condition stabilised.
Eriksen owes his life to the decisive actions of his teammates as well as the physios who treated him at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.
The former Tottenham playmaker may never play football again according to the medic, but the heroics of all those involved in the response to his suspected heart attack will never be forgotten.
Below are a few of the heroes;
Simon Kjaer leads by example
This was the finest captain’s performance of Euro 2020 – and it had nothing to do with football itself.
Simon Kjaer was one of the first players to sprint to Eriksen’s aid and showed truly outstanding composure as he appeared to clear the stricken midfielder’s airways.
The AC Milan defender then ensured medics were given the space they needed to assess the situation and treat his teammate.
The Denmark squad arranged themselves into a protective wall to shield Eriksen from a distance, while Kjaer set about consoling his understandably distraught colleagues.
He and Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel also comforted Eriksen’s wife, Sabrina Kvist Jensen, in deeply moving scenes which were regrettably broadcast.
Medics led by Martin Boesen perform CPR
Denmark’s team doctor, Martin Boesen, arrived at Eriksen side to find him unconscious but breathing.
Kjaer’s actions may have played a vital role in buying a few more seconds for the medical experts to carry out CPR as the midfielder’s pulse left him.
Boesen recounted the events in a post-match press conference, saying: “When I got to him he was on his side, he was breathing, I could feel a pulse, but suddenly that changed and we started to give him CPR.
“The help came really fast from the medical team and the rest of the staff with their co-operation, and we did what we had to do and managed to get Christian back.”
Boesen and his team treated Eriksen for many minutes on the pitch, with fans in the stadium and around the world fearing the worst for the former Tottenham midfielder.
Having stretched him off the pitch, report rolled in like crossfire that he’s alive and awake after the medical CPR.
“He spoke to me before he was taken to hospital,” Boesen later confirmed, while Eriksen even managed to FaceTime his teammates urging them to continue with the match, which had been suspended.
Sure enough, the game continued on Saturday evening at 7:30pm, with Finland going on to win 1-0 thanks to Joel Pohjanpalo’s second-half strike.
Denmark’s players had been given the option to finish the game that day or resume at noon on Sunday and chose the former after hearing their teammate was in a stable condition.
“We tried to win,” said Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand. “It was incredible they managed to go out and try to play the second half.
“Honestly, there were players out there who were completely done. Emotionally done and emotionally exhausted.”
Denmark’s performance was clearly affected by the events of the day, with Schmeichel making a rare mistake for Finland’s goal at Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg missing a penalty in the absence of regular taker Eriksen.
But the sorrow of defeat will be nothing compared to the relief and joy of Denmark’s players to hear their teammate will be okay.
On Sunday, the Danish FA released a statement confirming Eriksen is talking to his teammates but will stay in hospital to be monitored.
“This morning we have spoken to Christian Eriksen, who has sent his greetings to his teammates,” reads the statement. “His condition is stable, and he continues to be hospitalised for further examination.
“The team and staff of the national team has received crisis assistance and will continue to be there for each other after yesterday’s incident.
“We would like to thank everyone for the heartfelt greetings to Christian Eriksen from fans, players, the Royal Families from both Denmark and England, international associations, clubs etc.
“We encourage everyone to send their greetings to the Danish FA, where we will make sure they are all passed on to Christian and his family.”
Others who played their part to support Christain Eriksen
A special mention should also go to referee Anthony Taylor, who, like many around him, took swift action which played a part in saving Eriksen’s life.
The Premier League referee brought the game to a halt within seconds of Eriksen collapsing and called medics onto the pitch.
Fans and spectators
The fans and spectators were not left out of the heroic display as fans throng to their social media handle to drops messages, wishing the midfielder well in their numbers.
Notably on the social media, thoughts and prayers flooded in from all sections of society, including a message from Prince William.
Meanwhile, in the stadium, many of the 15,200 fans in attendance were in tears but there was a beautiful moment between the two nations’ supporters.
Finland’s contingent chanted “Christian” and Denmark fans responded with “Eriksen” as they nervously awaited updates on the midfielder’s condition.