Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed during a Euro 2020 match on Saturday and received CPR on the field. He was transported on a stretcher to a nearby hospital, where officials said he was stable and awake.
Eriksen's agent, Martin Schoots, said on Dutch radio that he'd been told by Eriksen's father that Eriksen was "out of danger," and able to breathe and speak.
On Sunday morning, Denmark's soccer federation said that Eriksen remained stable, had communicated with teammates, and would continue to undergo testing at the hospital.
Eriksen fell during the 42nd minute of a match against Finland in Copenhagen. The match was immediately suspended. It restarted less than two hours later. Finland scored in the second half and won in an upset, 1-0.
The scary scene unfolded late in the first half. After receiving a throw-in, it first appeared that Eriksen, a 29-year-old Danish star, had merely stumbled to the ground. Broadcast footage had shown him on camera just moments earlier fully conscious, but running slowly and appearing to be out of breath.
After he fell, his Denmark teammates noticed he was in distress and quickly signaled for a medical crew to rush onto the field. Eriksen's teammates, some in tears, formed a circle around him as paramedics administered CPR. Danish team doctor Morten Boesen, one of several who tended to Eriksen on the field, said that “it was pretty clear that he was unconscious."
"When I get to him, he is on his side," Boesen explained Saturday night. "He is breathing and I can feel his pulse. But suddenly that changes and as everyone saw, we started giving him CPR.
“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 Christian back. He spoke to me before he was taken to the hospital for more analysis.”
The referees, along with the Finland players, walked off the field while Denmark players stayed until Eriksen was carried off. On-field treatment lasted about 10 minutes.
Eriksen's partner, Sabrina Kvist Jensen, was at the match and came down onto the pitch during the emergency. Denmark defender Simon Kjaer and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel hugged and consoled her.
Photos later showed Eriksen awake, conscious, and holding an oxygen mask to his face while on a gurney leaving the stadium.
After the pitch emptied, a video board in the stadium relayed updates on Eriksen's condition, and on the match's status, to fans.
During the delay, fans of both teams chanted Eriksen's name.
UEFA, the European soccer governing body, said the decision to restart the game had been made by players. Denmark coach Kasper 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 said. "Honestly, it was best to get it over with."
The director of Denmark's soccer federation told a Danish broadcaster that Eriksen spoke to his teammates from his hospital bed before they agreed to complete the match Saturday night.
When they returned to the field over an hour later to warm up, some Danish players appeared to still be struggling emotionally.
"Of course, you can’t play a game with such feelings," Hjulmand said. "What we tried to do was incredible.”
Finland scored in the 59th minute with its only shot of the game, its first goal ever at a major international tournament. Joel Pohjanpalo, the goalscorer, urged restraint during his celebration.
The third Euro 2020 game of the day kicked off at 3 p.m. ET as scheduled. Romelu Lukaku, Eriksen's club teammate at Inter Milan, scored the opening goal, ran to a TV camera, and shouted, "Chris, Chris! ... I love you."
Hjulmand, the Denmark coach, spoke through tears after the match at his news conference. The Danish federation's Sunday statement said the players and staff had received "crisis assistance" and "will continue to be there for each other after yesterday's incident."
“It was a tough night,” Hjulmand said. “We are all reminded what the most important thing in life is, and that is to have valuable relationships. 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 at such a time where one of my very, very dear friends is suffering.”
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