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Danish star Christian Eriksen collapses on field; Denmark-Finland match suspended at Euro 2020

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Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field in the 43rd minute of Saturdays Euro 2020 match between Denmark and Finland in Copenhagen.

Eriksen, 29, was administered chest compressions on the field and taken off on a stretcher more than 10 minutes later. The scoreless match was suspended following the incident. After its continuation later Saturday, Finland defeated the Danes, 1-0.

Eriksen was jogging up the field during a throw-in when he stumbled and fell forward. Players and referees immediately gestured for medical attention.

Players and spectators appeared to be in shock as Eriksen was treated on the pitch. His teammates surrounded him, shielding the midfielder from cameras and onlookers, and Eriksen appeared conscious as he was carted off.

"He was breathing, and I could feel his pulse. But suddenly that changed," Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen told the Associated Press. "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 the suspension that Eriksen had been transferred to a hospital and was in stable condition. The Danish Football Association said he is awake and awaiting additional testing, adding that the match would resume after players confirmed Eriksen's general health.

UEFA later said players from both teams asked to restart the match. It resumed with the final minutes of the first half, about 90 minutes after Eriksen collapsed.

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."

"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," UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement. "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."

Euro 2020 was postponed from last summer because of the coronavirus pandemic, but UEFA maintained the quadrennial competition's year-old naming structure to commemorate its 60th anniversary.

Denmark-Finland was the tournament's third match, after Italy defeated Turkey on Friday, and Wales drew with Switzerland earlier Saturday.

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.

Denmark had a chance to equalize when referee Anthony 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."

Published : June 13, 2021

By : The Washington Post · Glynn A. Hill, Cindy Boren