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Euro 2020 stunned after Eriksen collapse

Euro 2020 stunned after Eriksen collapse

FOOTBALL: Euro 2020 was still reeling today (June 13) after Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed and had to be revived by medics on the pitch during his country’s defeat to Finland.


Sunday 13 June 2021, 10:49AM

Denmark’s players form a circle around Christian Eriksen to shield the stricken player from the view of 16,000 stunned spectators and TV cameras in Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium yesterday (June 12). Photo: AFP

Denmark’s players form a circle around Christian Eriksen to shield the stricken player from the view of 16,000 stunned spectators and TV cameras in Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium yesterday (June 12). Photo: AFP

Eriksen was “awake and undergoing further tests” after he received CPR as his distraught teammates formed a circle around him to shield the stricken player from the view of 16,000 stunned spectators in Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium yesterday.

The Group B game - just the third of the month-long tournament which kicked off a year behind schedule on Friday - was halted just before half-time with the score goalless and suspended for nearly two hours before restarting.

The Finns won 1-0 thanks to a Joel Pohjanpalo header in their first ever appearance in the European Championship but Eriksen’s plight overshadowed the match.

“We’ve been in contact with him, and the players have spoken to Christian. That’s the great news. He’s doing fine, and they are playing the game for him,” DBU director Peter Moeller told Danish media.

Denmark’s team doctor Martin Boesen described how his team saved Eriksen’s life.

“When I get to him, he’s on his side. He is breathing and I can see pulse but suddenly that changes, and as everyone saw we started giving him CPR,” he told a press conference.

“The help came really, really fast from the medical team and the rest of the staff, and with their cooperation we did what we had to do. We managed to get Christan back.”

Visibily distraught

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand heaped praise on his team after they returned to the field to complete the match after many were visibly distraught at Eriksen’s plight.

“Everyone agreed to play, and what we tried to do was incredible,” said an emotional Hjulmand.

“We have a group of players I can’t praise enough. I couldn’t be prouder of these people who take such good care of each other.

“They decide first of all not to do anything until we were sure that Christian was conscious, and that everything was OK.

“So we had two options, either finish the game tonight or play tomorrow at midday. Everyone agreed on playing today... The fact that the players tried to play the second and dominate... I’m very affected.

“All our thoughts and prayers are to Christian and his family right now. He’s one of the best players there is and he’s an even better person.”

National treasure’

A wave of relief was felt in the Copenhagen stadium when the announcement came that Eriksen was “in a stable condition”.

The 16,000 spectators in the Parken Stadium had watched in shock as medical personnel administered CPR to the Danish player before he was carried off the pitch.

“I could look down and see he was getting treatment, so everybody was like: ‘I can’t look at this’, and I was like: ‘I can’t look at this,’” Rasmus Ottosen, a 34-year-old Danish supporter, told AFP.

Eriksen “is a national treasure, he’s like your best friend,” Ottosen said.

He and others opted to leave the stands as onlookers feared for the Inter Milan star as he laid motionless for over 10 minutes in the corner of the field where he suddenly collapsed in the 43rd minute of Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 game against Finland.

His teammates initial stares of disbelief spoke volumes about their concern as they formed a circle around the 29-year-old midfielder.

As medics performed chest compressions, many in the stadium feared the worst.

“My wife told me he looked dead in his eyes,” 50-year-old supporters Benny told AFP.

With the gravity of the situation becoming clear, TV cameras eventually zoomed out.

Fellow players Thomas Delaney, Andreas Christensen and Daniel Wass could be seen wiping tears with their jerseys.

Christian!’ ‘Eriksen!’

After about 15 minutes of anguish, Eriksen was finally carried off the pitch and rushed to nearby hospital Rigshospitalet.

HeadStart International School Phuket

With the player displaying signs of life with slight movement and holding his hands to his head, hope returned to the stadium.

“My mother died five years ago and I didn’t cry as much as when Eriksen left the pitch,” Finnish supporter Mikka told AFP.

Bridging the divide of the competition, Finnish fans began shouting “Christian!” as Danish fans replied with “Eriksen!”

Meanwhile others began chanting the poetic Danish national anthem “There is a lovely country.”

“Tonight’s match will never be forgotten,” Denmark’s foreign minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted after the match and offered thanks for the inspiring chants from the Finns.

“You embody the very essence of FairPlay!,” Kofod said, adding a “Kiitos!” (Thanks in Finnish) at the end.

Elsewhere, messages of support poured in for Eriksen and Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku, his teammate at Inter Milan, shouted “Chris, Chris, stay strong - I love you” into a pitchside camera during the celebration for his opening goal in the 3-0 defeat of Russia in Saint Petersburg.

England launch challenge

Gareth Southgate’s youthful England side get their challenge under way today as they face 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia at Wembley in a 2:00pm GMT kickoff (8pm Phuket time).

England are playing all three group games at their London home. If they top Group D they will also play there in the last 16, while London is also the venue for both semi-finals as well as the final on July 11.

Croatia skipper Luka Modric admitted the situation could work in England’s favour.

“Everyone would say teams at home with a crowd, that there is a slight advantage,” Modric told the BBC.

Centre-forward and captain Harry Kane holds the key to ending England’s 55-year wait for a major trophy.

The Netherlands play Ukraine in Amsterdam to open their account, deprived of the services of the long-term injury absentee Virgil van Dijk but still able to call on a wealth of talent including Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

Ukraine’s pre-match preparations have been marred by a row with Russia over their jersey that features patriotic slogans and the outline of Ukraine that includes Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

In today’s third match, tiny North Macedonia will make history as they play their first match in a major tournament as an independent nation when they face Austria in Bucharest.

Belgium impress

Much-fancied Belgium showed they will be a force to reckon with as Lukaku scored twice in a 3-0 win for the Red Devils yesterday.

Thomas Meunier, on as an early substitute, doubled the lead in the 34th minute before Lukaku’s late second capped an impressive Belgium display.

Roberto Martinez’s side coped admirably with the absences of injured midfielders Kevin De Bruyne and Axel Witsel, with captain Eden Hazard only fit enough to make an 18-minute cameo off the bench.

Earlier the tournament, which is taking place in 11 venues all across Europe, stopped off in Baku where Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales drew 1-1 with Switzerland.

Kieffer Moore, the giant Cardiff City striker sporting a red bandage around his head, scored the equaliser for Wales in the 74th minute, heading in to cancel out Breel Embolo’s opener early in the second half.

“We showed a lot of character, like we always do, to fight back, be brave, get on the ball and get the equaliser,” Wales captain Gareth Bale said.

That result followed Italy’s 3-0 defeat of Turkey in the same Group A in the tournament’s opening game in Rome on Friday, as Andrea Bocelli performed ‘Nessun Dorma’ in the Stadio Olimpico before Roberto Mancini’s side cruised to victory.

World Cup holders France - with Karim Benzema recalled from a five-and-a-half-year international exile - are the favourites to add the continental crown.

They begin their campaign against Germany in Munich on Tuesday, just after holders Portugal play Hungary in the same Group F.

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