Denmark’s Christian Eriksen crowned a remarkable return to the European Championship with a goal 1,100 days after suffering a cardiac arrest but Slovenia snatched a 1-1 draw in an entertaining Euro 2024 Group C opener on Sunday.

Eriksen, who collapsed to the turf in the first half of Denmark’s first Euro 2020 game against Finland in Copenhagen, collected a clever flick from Jonas Wind and fired home to give his side the lead in the 17th minute.

Eriksen could have added to his tally but blazed a pair of left-footed efforts wide of the target, and the Danes should have had a second goal midway through the second half but Jan Oblak managed to swat Rasmus Hojlund’s close-range effort away.

Those misses were to prove costly. Slovenia’s striker Benjamin Sesko thumped a shot off the post and a minute later defender Erik Janza scored with a deflected shot that wrong-footed Kasper Schmeichel.

It was a tale of two halves as the teams, who had played each other twice in qualifying, deservedly took a share of the spoils.

Denmark were wary of Sesko in the build-up and the 21-year-old got an early sight of goal in the 16th minute when he had space outside the box to shoot, but his powerful drive sailed wide.

In the next minute, however, Denmark were ahead. A throw-in high up the pitch and into the box was flicked on by a back heel from Wind to Eriksen, who chested the ball before poking it in the far bottom corner.

The goal was met with a deafening roar from the large contingent of Danish fans in the Stuttgart Arena, with the emotion of the moment not lost on those who saw the 32-year-old midfielder collapse on the pitch in Copenhagen.

“Well, it was nice (to score), it came at a good time,” man of the match Eriksen said. “We had talked about scoring from a set-piece and we did and, unfortunately, the others did too, but we scored and got off to a good start.

“It was great with so many Danish fans.”

The Danes rued not adding to their score, with Eriksen missing a chance to score a second shortly before the break when he lifted a cut-back from Wind in the box well over the bar.


Matjaz Kek’s Slovenia, in their first major tournament since the 2010 World Cup, came out with intent in the second half and grew confident their chance would come, with their outnumbered fans making the most noise as nerves crept in the Danish camp.

Midfielder Adam Gnezda Cerin headed wide with the whole goal to aim at while Janza’s free kick into the box was struck wide by Andraz Sporar. The breakthrough finally came after Sesko’s pile-driver hit Schmeichel’s left-hand post in the 76th minute.

The clearance from a corner fell to Janza outside the area on the left and the defender’s fierce strike took a wicked deflection off Morten Hjulmand to sail into the net.

While the Slovenia bench and supporters celebrated wildly, Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand looked on knowing his side would rue failing to take their chances ahead of their games against England and Serbia to come in the group.

“It’s a miserable feeling,” Eriksen added. “It’s always annoying to get ahead and think you have it and then lose (two) points in the end. But again we have a point and the tournament is under way so we have to build on from here.”