Another Danish player has expressed disappointment with the options presented to his side to resume their Euro 2021 game after seeing a teammate suffer cardiac arrest on the pitch on Saturday.
Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch before half-time in a group stage match against Finland and had to be resuscitated by medics using a defibrillator and a CPR. He was eventually stabilized and transferred to a hospital, and 90 minutes later his teammates resumed the game after talking to Eriksen. Denmark lost the game 1-0.
Eriksen’s teammate Martin Braithwaite, who started the game and was on the pitch for the incident, said his team were given two options to resume the game and that “neither of those choices are was good”.
“We had two choices from UEFA, go out and play the game immediately or play the next day at noon,” he told media at a press conference on Monday. “Neither choice was good. We took the lesser of two evils to end the game.
“A lot of players weren’t fit to play this game. We were in a different space. It was not our wish. These were the only options we had. We had two options and in this situation we were told we had to make a decision. That’s all I can say about it. “
The account corroborates that provided by Danish manager Kasper Hjulmand.
“Looking back, it was not the right thing to make the decision between the two scenarios for the players in this case,” said Hjulmand. “The players were in a state of shock. The players weren’t sure yet if they had lost their best friend. And they have to choose between those two things.”
After confirmation of Eriksen’s stability, UEFA announced that a decision had been taken to resume the game on the same day “following the request made by players of both teams”.
Except that according to Denmark, it was less a “request” of the teams than a decision they were forced to make. The Finnish side have since shared that the team will always take the advantage over the Danish side during the process.
UEFA, the European football governing body and tournament organizers, provided a statement on how the situation has been handled:
“UEFA are sure that they have treated the matter with the utmost respect for the sensitive situation and for the players. It was decided to resume the game only after both sides asked to end the game on the same evening. The need for players to rest 48 hours between games has ruled out other options. “
The Danes are then set to play against world No.1 team Belgium on Thursday with another loss, making it difficult to advance to the knockout stages of Group B. Hjulmand admitted that “maybe for some [players], the time is too short to be able to play football again.
What now for Christian Eriksen?
The day after the incident, Danish team doctor Morten Boesen confirmed that Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest on the pitch and “he was gone” before medical staff resuscitated him.
“We got it after a defibrillator, so it’s pretty quick,” Boesen said at a press conference on Sunday. “I’m not a cardiologist, so I’ll leave the details to the experts at the hospital.”
Reviews are still ongoing, according to the player’s agent Martin Schoots.
“We all want to understand what happened to him and he wants it too. Doctors are doing detailed exams. It will take time,” Schoots said. Monday, the Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport.
“We are in contact with him. We were in contact with him yesterday and today. [His] the condition is the same as yesterday, stable, good, “a spokesman for the Danish federation said on Monday. The players also visited their teammate in the hospital.
“It was nice to see him smile, laugh, be himself and feel that he is there,” said goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. “It was a great experience and something that helped me a lot.”
In a Reuters report, doctors from his two most recent clubs – Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur – have confirmed that there hasn’t been a medical red flag they’ve come across over the years that Eriksen has been under their care.
Eriksen’s cardiologist at Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur Sanjay Sharma has said the decision whether or not to resume his career will be up to the player, but some countries are more strict than others on whether they will allow it .
“In Italy the laws are very, very strict, and I understand that it would be illegal for him to play competitive sport in Italy now,” Sharma told Reuters. “Other countries are a little more liberal and respect the autonomy of the athlete. So at best he can get a defibrillator installed and be allowed to play in some countries.
“But in most situations like this, it’s an end of career situation.”