Denmark’s Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest when he collapsed during his side’s Euro 2020 opening match against Finland, his team’s doctor confirmed on Sunday, but the reason remained unclear.
“He was gone; we did cardiac resuscitation, it was a cardiac arrest. We got him back after one defib (defibrillation),” Morten Boesen told a news conference, adding that Eriksen remained in hospital for further tests after his collapse on Saturday.
“The exams that have been done so far look fine,” Boesen added. “We don’t have an explanation as to why it happened.”
Eriksen, 29, who plays for Inter Milan, collapsed suddenly in the 42nd minute of the match while running near the left touchline after a Denmark throw-in. As a hush fell over the 16,000-strong crowd, his teammates gathered around him while he was treated on the pitch and then carried off on a stretcher.
Inter Milan director Giuseppe Marotta dismissed suggestions that Eriksen had previously contracted COVID-19 while the Italian club’s doctor said he had shown no previous signs of a health issue.
Sanjay Sharma of St. George’s University of London, the playmaker’s cardiologist at former club Tottenham Hotspur, also said Eriksen had no prior heart issues during his time with the Premier League side.
However, he told the Mail on Sunday that some players may have had sub-clinical COVID-19 infections, which could have resulted in “scarring” of the heart.
Marotta dismissed that suggestion.
“He didn’t have COVID and wasn’t vaccinated either,” he told Rai Sport.
The Danish players had been in contact with Eriksen via a video conference, said Peter Moller, director of Danish football association DBU.
Coach Kasper Hjulmand said Eriksen had told him he did not remember much from Saturday’s collapse and that he was eager to get back on to the pitch.
“He would like for us to play on,” Hjulmand said. “He said he feels like he could go out and play again. Christian feels best when he’s got a football close to his feet.”
“Christian is in good spirits and it’s a huge relief for the players after all this uncertainty,” Hjulmand said. “There is no doubt that we have been on the ropes.”
The Group B game was halted and eventually restarted an hour and 45 minutes later. Finland went on to win 1-0 with their only attempt of the game.
Former Danish internationals Peter Schmeichel and Michael Laudrup have criticised governing body UEFA over their handling of the collapse. The players were given the option to finish the game on Saturday evening or on Sunday.
“Looking back, I honestly don’t think that we should have been back on the pitch,” Hjulmand said. “I have thought about whether I could have done things differently.”