Denmark Criticizes UEFA After Christian Eriksen’s Collapse
Denmark’s players expressed frustration regarding the situation they were put in after their teammate, Christian Eriksen, collapsed during their opening EURO 2020 match versus Finland. They were forced to decide whether to finish the match that evening or the next morning.
Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the field just before halftime and all of the players witnessed the occurrence, proceeding to shield Eriksen from cameras and fans while he received treatment. The treatment came in the form of CPR that ultimately saved his life. The players then gathered in the dressing room and UEFA offered them the choice of resuming the match on Saturday night or beginning again on Sunday at noon.
“We were put in a position which I personally don’t think we should have been put in,” said Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel on Monday.
Luckily, Eriksen recovered quickly and was in stable condition shortly after reaching the hospital. Teammate Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg explained that Eriksen sent the team a video message from the hospital to inform them that he was okay, urging Denmark to turn their attention to their next game against Belgium.
European football’s governing body made an announcement via Twitter that the match would be resumed “following the request made by players of both teams.”
“We had two options. None of the options were good. We took the least bad one. There were a lot of players that weren’t able to play the match. They were elsewhere [mentally]. You could have wished for a third option in this situation,” said Danish striker Martin Braithwaite.
UEFA said they dealt with the matter as carefully as possible at the time. “UEFA is sure it treated the matter with the utmost respect for the sensitive situation and for the players,” a statement said. “It was decided to restart the match only after the two teams requested to finish the game on the same evening.”
Jonas Baer-Hoffman, the general secretary of the international players’ union FIFPRO, said the decision should not have been made in the immediate aftermath of the traumatic incident. “The players were probably not given a real option in terms of taking a good decision that was in that moment in balance with where they were mentally,” he said. “There’s a lot of lessons that need to be drawn from this.” He added that they would be conducting a review with UEFA.
Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand agreed and said on Sunday that the players should not have been back on the pitch.