Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest during a Euro 2020 match on Saturday, Morten Boesen, Denmark’s team doctor, confirmed on Sunday.
“He was gone, and we did cardiac resuscitation,” Boesen said at a news conference.
Eriksen is in stable condition at a Copenhagen hospital after collapsing late in the first half of Denmark’s opener against Finland. Paramedics and doctors, including Boesen, rushed onto the field to treat him. They administered CPR and used a defibrillator, or AED.
“We got him back after one defib, so that’s quite fast,” Boesen said.
“How close were we [to losing Eriksen]? I don’t know,” he said.
Eriksen was transported to a nearby hospital on a stretcher. His agent and other officials confirmed Saturday night and Sunday morning that he was breathing, awake and alert. He communicated with teammates and coaches less than two hours after being wheeled off the field, and again Sunday morning, according to Denmark’s soccer federation.
Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand said Eriksen “was concerned about us and, of course, his family. He said, ‘I don’t remember much’ and ‘I’m more concerned about you guys, how are you doing?'”
As of Sunday afternoon, Eriksen remains in the hospital undergoing testing.
As for the cause of the cardiac arrest, Boesen, the team doctor, said: “I’m not a cardiologist, so the details I will leave to the experts at the hospital.”
Denmark coach on game resuming: ‘It was wrong’
Denmark and Finland resumed the match less than two hours after Eriksen collapsed. UEFA, the European soccer governing body, said the decision to restart the game had been made by players. Hjulmand, however, said UEFA had given his team two options: to complete the game Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.
“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, the Danish coach, said Saturday night. “Honestly, it was best to get it over with.”
But at a Sunday news conference, he reconsidered. “Looking back, it was the wrong thing to make the decision between the two scenarios to the players in this case,” Hjulmand said.
“Players were in a shock condition – players who didn’t really know yet if they had lost their best friend. And they have to decide between these two things.
“I have a sense that we shouldn’t have played. I know it’s difficult. It’s just a feeling I have. Maybe we should have just gone on to the bus and gone home and let’s see what the next days would have brought.”
Some 20 minutes after the match restarted, Finland scored – with its only shot in its first-ever game at a major international tournament – and held on for a 1-0 upset. Denmark’s next match, against Group B favorite Belgium, is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. (noon ET) in Copenhagen.
In a statement Sunday morning, the Danish soccer federation said that players and staff were receiving “crisis assistance” and “will continue to be there for each other after yesterday’s incident.”
Hjulmand, at his news conference, said: “We will try tomorrow to establish normality as much as is possible. Players have different kinds of shocks and traumas and emotions.
“We will try to use the next couple of days as good as possible. I will try to get a feeling of the players. Maybe for some, the time is too short to be able to play football again.”
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