COPENHAGEN: Denmark’s team doctor Morten Boesen has said that midfielder and captain Christian Eriksen did suffer a cardiac arrest in the first half of Saturday’s interrupted 1-0 defeat by Finland.
Boesen, who led the resuscitation efforts after Eriksen collapsed on the pitch, told a media briefing that ”he was gone” before he was resuscitated with chest compression and a defribrillator.
He added: “We got him back after one defib. That’s quite fast.”
Eriksen, according to the Danish football union, was awake and in stable condition in a Copenhagen hospital.
Coach Kasper Hjulmand said he had spoken to Eriksen via video link and says it was ”good to see him smile.”
Hjulmand said Eriksen was more concerned about the team’s wellbeing however he harboured regrets about the eventual outcome in the wake of Eriksen’s collapse.
The match was resumed after nearly two hours when the Danish players decided this was preferable to playing the following midday.
But Hjulmand said: “The players were in a shocked condition and didn’t know if they have lost their best friend . . . and I have a a sense we shouldn’t have played.
“Honestly, the players were completely emotionally devastated. We sat and hugged, everyone had experienced something very traumatic. But they wanted to try to play the game.
“The option to play tomorrow (Sunday) was worse. We couldn’t have slept, then get on the bus and come back here. It was an even more difficult alternative,. We all know what is really important in life.”
Piero Volpi, doctor to Eriksen’s Italian champions Internazioale, said: “In the next few days, Christian will undergo extensive testing.
“The most important thing is that he’s fine but there had never been an episode that even remotely hinted at a problem, not when he was at Tottenham or at Inter. In Italy, the medical checks are very rigorous “.
Sanjay Sharma of London’s St. George’s University, Eriksen’s cardiologist at Tottenham, also said the Danish midfielder had no prior heart problems during his time with the Spurs team.
However, Sharma said that some players may have had subclinical Covid-19 infections, which could have resulted in “scarring” of the heart.
Inter have denied that Eriksen ever contracted Covid-19.
The decision to resume the gam was the “least bad one” according to Denmark forward Martin Braithwaite.
Barcelona forward Braithwaite said: “It was important for me personally to see that he felt better via video. I had some pictures in my head from last Saturday that I would like to get rid of.
“We were all about to lose a friend and a team-mate. It’s not something you normally think of on a football pitch. Joy and love are normal. No one can prepare for what happened.
“None of the options were good. We took the least bad one. There were lots of players who were unable to play. We were in a bad place. We made the least bad decision.
“We were told we had to make a decision. That’s the only thing I can say. I wished there was a third option. Because I did not want to go out again. But UEFA said there were two options. We made a decision because we knew we would not be able to sleep that night.”
Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel said: “We were put in a position that I personally feel that we shouldn’t have been put in.”
The Leicester City captain added he wished someone in a more senior position had said “that it wasn’t the time to take that decision, and that we should maybe wait until the day after to decide”.
He said: “What has happened has happened, and hopefully they’ll learn from this.”
Peter Schmeichel, father of keeper Kasper and a former Europewan champion himself, was scathing at the teams being pressured to complete the game so soon after the incident.
He said: “I want to put on record that it is absolutely ridiculous that UEFA come up with a solution like that.
“Something terrible happens and UEFA gives the players an option to go out and play the game the last 55 minutes or whatever it was or come back at 12 o clock today, I mean what kind of option is that?
‘So you go back to your hotel – in the case for the Danes is 45 minutes away – you cannot sleep, you might not even sleep because watching trauma like that has a massive effect on you of course and then get back on the team bus at 8 to play the rest of the game.
It was not an option, it was a ridiculous decision by UEFA and they should have tried to work out a different scenario and show a bit of compassion and they didn’t.
“I don’t know [about other solutions], but why 12 o clock? Why take TV scheduling and all of that into consideration. Why 12 o clock?
That was ridiculous and to be fair, the result of the game is completely irrelevant and I have to be very honest… we obviously made a decision if the players come out and play they will only play if Christian is alright and by alright it means he is alive and speaking to the players, they knew he was okay.
“That was very, very hard and I could not understand the decision, I couldn’t and the game was irrelevant, totally. How can you play?”
A UEFA spokesperson said: “UEFA is sure it treated the matter with utmost respect for the sensitive situation and for the players. It was decided to restart the match only after the two teams requested to finish the game on the same evening.
“The players’ need for 48 hours’ rest between matches eliminated other options.”
Eriksen remains in hospital in Copenhagen where his agent said he was having “detailed examinations” by doctors.
Speaking to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Schoots said: “I spoke with Christian [on Sunday] morning. He was making jokes, I found him well, he was in good form.
“We all want to understand what happened to him, him too. The doctors are carrying out thorough tests, it will take a bit of time.
“He was happy because it struck him how much love there is for him. He has had messages from all over the world. Christian will not give up. Christian and his family want to send all their thanks to everyone.
“Now he just needs to rest. His wife and parents are with him. Also [on Monday] he will be kept under observation, maybe Tuesday too.”
Denmark play their second Group B game against Belgium on Thursday.
“In any case he wants to cheer on his team-mates for the game against Belgium,” Schoots added.
Schmeichel has visited Eriksen in hospital and said it “helped him a lot” after seeing his team-mate “smile and laugh”.
“We’re still in the tournament. Now we have to try to see if we can win this and do it for Christian and do it for all the fans who sat with us and were just as powerless in the situation as we were,” he said.
“I have no doubt that this team has the unity, the strength to be able to come together and go out and do something special.”