Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen was taken to a hospital Saturday after collapsing on the field during a match at the European Championship, leading to the game being suspended for more than 90 minutes.
UEFA said Eriksen has been stabilized, and the Danish federation wrote on Twitter on Saturday night that he was awake then released another statement on Sunday morning which said: “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.”
Danish football federation director Peter Moeller said Eriksen got a “heart massage” while being treated on the field.
“He fell over and got help and heart massage on the field,” Moeller told Danish public broadcaster DR. “He was fortunately awake when he left stadium.”
The Euro 2020 match between Denmark and Finland had been halted in the 43rd minute with the score 0-0. It resumed at 8:30 p.m. local time and Finland eventually won 1-0, with Eriksen named man of the match.
UEFA said both teams had held an emergency meeting before deciding to continue playing. The players came back out onto the field to a huge ovation as they started warming up for a second time.
Mathias Jensen replaced Eriksen in the Denmark lineup. Only a few minutes were played before a shorter-than-normal half-time break.
Eriksen was given urgent medical attention on the field for about 10 minutes after collapsing near the end of the first half. He was then carried off on a stretcher. UEFA then announced the game had been suspended “due to a medical emergency.”
Eriksen had just played a short pass when he fell facedown onto the ground. His teammates immediately gestured for help and medics rushed onto the field. Eriksen was given chest compressions as his Denmark teammates stood around him in a shielding wall for privacy.
The Finland players huddled by their bench and eventually walked off the field, as did the referees, while the Inter Milan midfielder was still getting treatment.
Eriksen was eventually carried off to a loud ovation, with his teammates walking next to the stretcher.
“We have been in contact with him and the players have spoken to Christian,” Moeller said.
Inter Milan team physician Piero Volpi told The Associated Press that the Italian club was in contact with the Danish soccer federation.
“We’re in contact with the Danish federation, the team manager, the team physician. But we still don’t know anything yet,” Volpi said. “We heard what UEFA said and we’re all happy that he’s been stabilized. But that’s all we know.”
Volpi added that Eriksen never contracted COVID-19, has no medical conditions that he’s aware of and has passed every medical exam without problem since joining Inter in January 2020 from Tottenham.
“But we’ll talk about that when the time is right,” Volpi added of Eriksen’s medical history. “Right now, the important thing is that he recovers.”
Eriksen is one of Denmark’s biggest stars and the incident brought an instant sense of shock to those at Parken Stadium, where about 15,000 fans fell into hushed silence. Some supporters could be seen crying and hugging in the stands.
As the fans in the stadium were waiting for updates, Finland supporters started chanting “Christian,” which was then answered by the Danish fans shouting “Eriksen.”
A huge roar then went up from all supporters when the stadium announcer said Eriksen was “stable and awake.”
Speaking after the game, Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen, who came out to treat Eriksen, described what happened.
“I want to start by saying that I’ve had a talk with Christian’s family. I’m not going to say anything in detail right now. I want to say what we’ve seen, Boesen said. “We were called on to the pitch when Christian fell down. I didn’t see it myself, but it was pretty clear that he was unconscious. When I got to him, he is on his side. He is breathing and I can feel his pulse, but suddenly that changes. And as everyone saw, we started giving him CPR.”
Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said he was left “very affected” after the match.
“I was involved in a similar situation as a coach where we almost lost someone on the field, and I can feel that it means something, and now I see how everyone reaches out to their family right now and tries FaceTiming them,” Hjulmand said. “So that’s what a situation like this does. It’s a tough night to go out this way. All of our thoughts and prayers are with Christian right now and his family. Christian is one of our best players, is one of the best players there is, and he’s an even better person. So, all my thoughts and all my positive energy go out to Christian.”
The game was broadcast widely, including on ESPN in the United States, which later responded to online criticism that its telecast lingered too long on the scene before cutting away. ESPN said it didn’t have its cameras on the scene and was using a worldwide feed supplied by the Union of European Football Associations.
“Once it was clear the world feed was going to take a more aggressive approach to covering the situation, we should have moved quicker to a static wide shot of the stadium or returned to the studio,” ESPN said in a statement.
The incident brought back memories of other soccer players who have collapsed on the field, including Fabrice Muamba, who needed CPR in 2012 when he collapsed in a match between Bolton and Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Muamba, who fully recovered, tweeted “Please God” as Eriksen was taken to the hospital.
Later on Saturday, Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku — a teammate of Eriksen at Inter Milan — celebrated his opening goal in his side’s 3-0 win over Russia by saying: “Chris, Chris, I love you” into the cameras.
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.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino issued a statement, saying: “Our thoughts and best wishes are with Christian Eriksen, his family and all at the Danish Federation.”