The second day of Euro 2020 will long be remembered, but certainly not for the football itself. The scary scenes of Christian Eriksen’s collapse and medical emergency just prior to halftime in Denmark’s game against Finland reminded everyone of the important things in life, while also drawing into question things like player workload, welfare, and privacy.
Fortunately, Eriksen himself is said to be doing okay all things considered, is “awake” and “responsive” in hospital, where he was taken after an excellent on-pitch response by the medical team “stabilised” his condition, administering “heart massage” (i.e. CPR) and possibly using a defibrillator (AED) as well. Eriksen collapsed in the 42nd minute, and was taken to hospital 20 minutes later.
“He was unconscious. When I get 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.
“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.”
-Morten Boesen, Denmark national team doctor; source: Guardian
“We managed to get Christian back.” Just let those words find their impact for a second.
Proper training and equipment saves lives!
Inter CEO Marotta: “Christian Eriksen just sent a message on Inter whatsapp chat, it was few minutes ago. We’re optimistic about Christian conditions, Denmark staff told us that the situation is under control”, he told Rai Sport. #Eriksen— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 12, 2021
So that’s the good news.
Less good was the part where Eriksen’s situation became morbid global theater as major broadcasters failed to show a shred of decency to cut away from the live feed, especially once it was apparent that Eriksen was not only injured but fighting for his life — the BBC have already apologized, for what it’s worth.
The BBC didn't have control over the cameras on pitch, but they could - and should! - have cut to the studio much quicker.— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) June 12, 2021
And every one of those responsible for zooming in on Eriksen's face as he received CPR, and his devastated wife, should be sacked immediately I'm sorry.
But that’s small potatoes compared to the lack of care and concern shown by UEFA, not that we expect any better from them.
The match resumed 90 minutes after, with UEFA’s official statement putting that decision on “the request made by players of both teams”.
Following the request made by players of both teams, UEFA has agreed to restart the match between Denmark and Finland tonight at 20:30 CET (TBC).— UEFA (@UEFA) June 12, 2021
The last four minutes of the first half will be played, there will then be a 5-minute half-time break followed by the second half.
As it turned out later however, that wasn’t the whole story, not by a long-shot, as Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand explained.
“There was no pressure from UEFA to play tonight. We knew we had two options. The players couldn’t imagine not being able to sleep tonight and then having to get on the bus and come in again tomorrow. Honestly it was best to get it over with. Of course you can’t play a game with such feelings and what we tried to do was incredible.”
UEFA gave Denmark two options, play tonight or play tomorrow noon. Do you choose the bad option, or the worse option? Thanks, UEFA! So kind.
Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand: "We had two options to play the game [today] or tomorrow at 12pm and everyone agreed to play today. You can't play a game with such feelings. We tried to win. It was incredible they managed to go out and try to play the second half."— John Bennett (@JohnBennettBBC) June 12, 2021
Denmark captain Simon Kjær, who showed such strength and leadership during the entire ordeal, simply couldn’t finish the game, for example, and was withdrawn just 15 minutes after the restart.
“Simon was deeply, deeply affected. Deeply affected. He was in doubt whether he could continue and gave it a shot, but it could not be done.”
The rest soldiered on, including Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen, but this should’ve never been a choice for them to make.
“There are players in there who are completely emotionally finished ... they are holding each other. It was a traumatic experience. I said that, no matter what, everything was OK.
“We had to allow ourselves to show joy and aggression, to make room for the emotions. You cannot play a football match at this level without being aggressive.”
-Kasper Hjulmand; source: Guardian
The record books will show a 1-0 defeat for Denmark, and a first ever win for Finland at a major international competition. But the story is of anything but the football, and issues far greater than these 90 minutes need to be looked at more seriously.
The health and wellbeing of players has long been ignored. Shoving more and more games in more condensed periods will only lead to bigger health issues for players. Let hope the people in power will take notice at some point.— Asmir Begovic (@asmir1) June 12, 2021
Earlier in the day, Wales drew with Switzerland (Ethan Ampadu played a couple minutes at the very end), while in the scheduled late game, Belgium made short work of Russia, 3-0. Romelu Lukaku scored a brace, and paid tribute to his club teammate afterwards.
Lukaku to Sporza: “I had a lot of tears before the game. It was difficult to focus. Other players were affected too. I’m going to contact him. I read that he’s out of danger. I hope he’ll be in good health soon. I am happy with the victory, but my thoughts are with Christian.” pic.twitter.com/TXeEopY8PO— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) June 12, 2021