Euro 2020: Denmark’s Christian Eriksen ‘awake’ in hospital after collapsing during game

Denmark’s defender Simon Kjaer (back) observes as paramedics attend to Denmark’s midfielder Christian Eriksen (not seen) during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Denmark and Finland at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on June 12, 2021. Image Credit: AFP

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen, who was hospitalised after collapsing during his side’s Euro 2020 opener against Finland on Saturday, had no prior heart issues during his time with Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, his former cardiologist said.

Eriksen, 29, collapsed in the 42nd minute of the match while running near the left touchline after a Denmark throw-in and was given life-saving cardiac massage treatment on the pitch, with officials later saying that the player was stable and awake.

Dr. Sanjay Sharma of St. George’s University of London said Eriksen had returned normal tests since 2013, but the sight of the Inter Milan playmaker falling to the ground had briefly raised concerns that doctors had missed something.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God? Is there something there that we didn’t see?’ But I have looked at all the test results and everything looked perfect,” Sharma told The Mail on Sunday.

“From the day we signed him, it was my job to screen him and we tested him every year. So certainly his tests up to 2019 were completely normal, with no obvious underlying cardiac fault. I can vouch for that because I did the tests.”

Copy of Denmark_Finland_Euro_2020_Soccer_73428.jpg-6b092-1623568959655
Denmark players react while medics assist their teammate Christian Eriksen after he collapsed on the pitch during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (Stuart Franklin/Pool via AP) Image Credit: AP

“We managed to get Christian back”

As Eriksen lay unconscious on the field, his pulse slipping away, Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen quickly realized there wasn’t a second to lose.

“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.”

The next 10 minutes were among the scariest to ever unfold during a match at soccer’s European Championship. Several medics worked frenetically to give Eriksen chest compressions while his teammates choked away tears and formed a circle around the midfielder to shield the scene from public view.

And finally, the eerie silence that had descended around Parken Stadium was replaced with massive cheers.

“We managed to get Christian back,” Boesen said. “And he spoke to me before he was taken to the hospital.”

Eriksen
Denmark players react as Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the match Image Credit: Reuters

Former Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba said that Eriksen’s collapse brought back painful memories of his cardiac arrest on the pitch in an FA Cup match in 2012. The ex-England under-21 midfielder had to retire soon after at the age of 24.

“It brought back stuff that I have put down in me, this emotion that’s down there. To watch it from that distance and not know what was going to happen,” Muamba told the BBC.

“It was scary, but credit to the medical staff. They have done an amazing job on Christian. I like how his team mates got together to protect him.

“I hope things turn out to be OK for him. I hope he will come through.”

Match resumed

“The player has been transferred to the hospital and has been stabilised,” UEFA tweeted, adding that a crisis meeting had taken place over whether the match – which was suspended in the first half after Eriksen was stretchered off – could restart.

The previously raucous crowd at the Parken Stadium in the Danish capital fell silent after the 29-year-old fell to the ground near the end of the opening period, with his teammates gathering around him.

After around 15 minutes Eriksen was stretchered off the field followed by the rest of the Denmark team, while Finland’s players also left the pitch.

The fans in the stadium, who were celebrating the chance to see their national team again live at the stadium, sat silently in their seats waiting for news of Eriksen’s condition to filter through.

Joel Pohjanpalo’s 59th minute header gave Finland a 1-0 win over Denmark and their first ever triumph in the final stage of a major football tournament on Saturday night in Copenhagen, but the opening game for both teams in the European Championships will almost certainly be remembered for long.