Christian Eriksen sends 'greetings' to teammates after collapsing on pitch at Euro 2020

13 June 2021, 08:42 | Updated: 13 June 2021, 19:31

Denmark's Christian Eriksen is in a stable condition after collapsing on the pitch on Saturday
Denmark's Christian Eriksen is in a stable condition after collapsing on the pitch on Saturday. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Denmark footballer Christian Eriksen has sent "greetings" to his teammates after being brought back to life on the pitch on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Dane was resuscitated after receiving "life-saving heart treatment" on the pitch, his team doctor confirmed.

He is in a stable condition and recovering in hospital after collapsing at around the 40-minute mark of Denmark's first Euro 2020 game against Finland.

Attempts to bring back the star midfielder got under way almost immediately on the pitch while play in Copenhagen was temporarily suspended.

The former Tottenham Hotspur footballer, now of Inter Milan, received CPR while his visibly distressed teammates formed a ring around him to prevent spectators and cameras from seeing the urgent treatment.

Eriksen was brought back to life by medical teams and UEFA later confirmed he was "now in hospital and in a stable condition".

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Denmark's team doctor Morten Boesen confirmed Christian Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest and said: "He was gone. We did cardiac resuscitation, it was a cardiac arrest.

"How close were we to losing him? I don't know, but we got him back after one defib, so that's quite fast."

The team doctor revealed that Denmark's players and staff were visited by a psychologist on Saturday night, and in hindsight feels the game should not have resumed.

"I don't think the right decision was to play the game," Boesen said. "We have had help from a psychological point of view at the hotel last night.

"Everyone expressed their feelings and how they saw the situation, and everyone was pleased we did this and talked it through.

"We really appreciated the professional help we have had from the outside."

Mr Boesen was among the first responders and said the star was breathing at first but that his condition rapidly deteriorated.

"We were called on the field when Christian fell over. I did not even get to see it, but it quickly became clear that he was not conscious," he said.

"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.

"We also got fantastic quick help from the stadium doctor and the rest of the emergency services, and we got the necessary measures implemented.

"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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The Denmark star was seen awake with his hand on his head shortly after being resuscitated on the pitch
The Denmark star was seen awake with his hand on his head shortly after being resuscitated on the pitch. Picture: PA
A screen told fans the game had been suspended
A screen told fans the game had been suspended. Picture: PA
Distraught fans looked on as Eriksen received treatment
Distraught fans looked on as Eriksen received treatment. Picture: PA

In a statement on Twitter on Sunday, the Danish Football Association said: "Latest news: This morning we have spoken to Christian Eriksen, who has sent his greetings to his teammates.

"His condition is stable and he continues to be hospitalised for further examination."

On Saturday, the federation said the midfielder was awake in a stable condition and that he would remain in hospital for tests.

Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA's president, said: "Moments like this put everything in life into perspective."

Wishing Eriksen a speedy recovery, he noted that fans for both countries chanted the player's name in the stadium.

Play resumed at around 7:30pm that evening, with Finland winning 1-0 after Denmark's Pierre Emile Højbjerg missed a penalty that would have likely been taken by Eriksen had he still been on the pitch.

The Inter Milan player spoke to his teammates via video call from hospital before the match restarted, telling them he wanted the game to go on.

Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand, in tears during the post-match press conference, said: "It was a really tough evening, on which we've all been reminded what the most important things in life are.

"It's meaningful relationships. It's those people who are close to us. It's family and friends. Everything, everything, everything - all thoughts are with Christian and his family."

One leading sports cardiologist, who previously worked with the footballer at Tottenham, said Eriksen is lucky to be alive but unlikely to play again.

Professor Sanjay Sharma - professor of sports cardiology at London's St George's University and chair of the FA's expert cardiac consensus group - said football bodies and medical practitioners were likely to be "very strict" about allowing him to play again.

He added that there were multiple reasons a cardiac arrest could have happened, such as high temperatures or an unidentified condition.

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"I'm very pleased. The fact he's stable and awake, his outlook is going to be very good," he said.

"I don't know whether he'll ever play football again. Without putting it too bluntly, he died today, albeit for a few minutes, but he did die and would the medical professional allow him to die again? The answer is no."

The football world united to send messages of support to Eriksen and his family, while Sabrina Kvist Jensen, with whom he has two children, was consoled on the sideline by other Denmark players and team officials while he received treatment.

Former Spurs teammate and England captain Harry Kane tweeted: "Chris. I'm sending all my love to you and your family. Stay strong mate."

England's Football Association released a statement, which read: "Our thoughts this evening are with Christian Eriksen and his family, and all connected with the Danish Football Union."

Eriksen's club Inter Milan tweeted a praying hands emoji and added: "Forza Chris, all of our thoughts are with you!"