What was diminished to an eerie silence at the Telia Parken in Copenhagen on Saturday was embraced with more than 15,000 sighs of relief. The relief of Christian Eriksen, who had collapsed on the pitch in Denmark’s UEFA Euro 2020 group stage opener against Finland, was stable in a hospital. The relief that his teammates had responded to the situation with such life-saving speed. Most of all, it was the man with the armband — Simon Kjaer.
The 32-year-old centre back was one of the first players to arrive on the scene and appeared to prevent Eriksen from swallowing his tongue.
“The Denmark captain sprinted the length of the pitch and sprang into action: he took Eriksen’s pulse, he made sure that his tongue was not blocking his airway and placed him in an upright position,” reported Marca.
Kjaer then showed a clear presence of mind in a strenuous situation as he led his teammates in forming a protective ring around the Inter Milan midfielder. Thereafter, he escorted Eriksen off the ground along with the medical staff and the rest of his squad, all the while trying to making sure that photographers did not get a picture of the playmaker.
The AC Milan defender was also seen comforting Eriksen’s partner, Sabrina Kvist, who was reduced to tears at the edge of the touchline.
Earlier, the Group B match was suspended for around two hours because of the scare but was resumed on the request of the players, after knowing Eriksen was ‘awake’, the match resumed. Joel Pohjanpalo’s 60th-minute goal helped Finland register a 1-0 win.
Speaking after the match, Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand said, “Simon [Kjaer] was deeply, deeply touched. He was in doubt whether he could continue and gave it a shot, but ultimately, he couldn’t. I completely understand that.”
The Danish Football Association have confirmed on Sunday that Eriksen’s condition is stable.