The morning after being given CPR on the pitch following his terrifying collapse during Denmark’s Euro 2020 game, Christian Eriksen sent a message to his teammates and was in stable condition at a hospital in Copenhagen.
Eriksen, 29, fell face first to the ground as he headed up the field on a throw-in just before the first half of the game against Finland and, as he lay motionless, referees and players urgently summoned medical personnel. After horrifying minutes, Eriksen was revived with CPR and a defibrillator. He was conscious as he was wheeled from the field on a gurney.
“He was gone, and we did cardiac resuscitation. It was a cardiac arrest,” Morten Boesen, the team’s doctor, said during a news conference Sunday (via the Associated Press). “How close were we [to losing Eriksen]? I don’t know. We got him back after one defib, so that’s quite fast. I’m not a cardiologist, so the details I will leave to the experts at the hospital.”
There were no immediate answers about what happened to Eriksen.
“The exams that have been done so far look fine,” Boesen said. “We don’t have an explanation to why it happened.”
As Eriksen was treated, his teammates wept and formed a protective circle around him, shielding him from cameras and fans. After news that Eriksen was stable and in consultation with players from both sides, the match was resumed after a 90-minute suspension and Finland won, 1-0. On Sunday, the Danish Football Association acknowledged the emotional toll the incident had taken and said the national team and staff had received “crisis assistance” and would “continue to be there for each other.”
Foto AFP. 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/AvPHxePweZ— Javier Lanza (@javierlanza) June 12, 2021
“He was breathing, and I could feel his pulse. But suddenly that changed,” Boesen said Saturday. “And as everyone saw, we started giving him CPR. … We managed to get Christian back. And he spoke to me before he was taken to the hospital.”
UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, announced shortly after play was suspended that Eriksen had been transferred to a hospital and was in stable condition. The Danish Football Association added Saturday that he was awake and undergoing tests.
The scene unfolded as Eriksen began to run up the field on a throw-in during the 43rd minute and drew an instant, global response across sports on social media. Fabrice Muamba’s soccer career was cut short after his heart stopped during an FA Cup match in 2012. He eventually recovered, but tweeted simply, “Please God” after Eriksen collapsed.
Harry Kane, England’s captain, urged his former teammate to “stay strong” and sent “all my love” to Eriksen and his family in a tweet. England’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid tribute to the swift reaction by referee Anthony Taylor and the medical treatment Eriksen received. “Encouraging news about Christian Eriksen, we are all thinking about him and his family. Well done to the medical team and Anthony Taylor for their calm and swift action,” the Royal Kensington account said in a tweet signed “W.”
The Montreal Canadiens tweeted “the entire sporting world is behind you during this incredibly difficult time” and that certainly appeared to be the case.
#FIN fans: “CHRISTIAN”#DEN fans: “ERIKSEN”— Jason Keen (@Jason_Keen) June 12, 2021
Spectators remained in the stadium long after the match was paused, cheering when the public address announcer said Eriksen, who reportedly spoke to teammates from the hospital, was awake and in stable condition. They chanted the midfielder’s name, and Danish fans sang their national anthem.
Finnish players applauded their Danish counterparts when they returned to the pitch. Mathias Jensen replaced Eriksen when play resumed.
“Of course you can’t play a game with such feelings,” Denmark Coach Kasper Hjulmand said. “What we tried to do was incredible. It’s incredible that the players managed to go out and try to play the second half.”
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin 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.”
Denmark players were emotional returning to the field to resume their match following Christian Eriksen's collapse earlier in the day. pic.twitter.com/Oajftke0Hl— ESPN (@espn) June 12, 2021
Finland went ahead when Joel Pohjanpalo drilled a header toward Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in the 59th minute. Schmeichel whiffed on his attempted deflection, and an excited Pohjanpalo quickly settled into a subdued celebration with teammates.
Finland scores the first goal after the restart.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 12, 2021
Goalscorer Joel Pohjanpalo refused to celebrate. pic.twitter.com/TuMLGnr4es
Denmark had a chance to equalize when Taylor issued a penalty after Finland’s Paulus Arajuuri tackled Yussuf Poulsen in the box 15 minutes later. But Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s soft shot toward the far corner was comfortably saved by Lukas Hradecky.
In the day’s next match, Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku acknowledged his Inter Milan teammate after the first of his two goals in a 3-0 win over Russia. He ran to the camera, called Eriksen’s name and said, “I love you.”
Denmark plays Belgium on Thursday in Copenhagen.