Christian Eriksen says he feels “good under the circumstances” and has posted a message of thanks for the support he received after collapsing during the Euro 2020 game between Denmark and Finland.
In his first public post since Saturday’s incident, Eriksen posted a photo on Instagram showing him smiling and giving a thumbs-up gesture in his hospital bed in Copenhagen.
Watch the chilling incident in the video above
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“A big thank you for your sweet and amazing greetings and your messages from all over the world. It means a lot to me and my family,” Eriksen said.
“I’m fine – under the circumstances. I still have to have tests at the hospital, but I feel fine.
Eriksen, 29, collapsed late in the first half of Saturday’s game. He went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the pitch before being taken to hospital where he is recovering well.
“Now I will cheer on the boys from the Denmark team in the next games. Play for all of Denmark,” Eriksen said.
Denmark’s next match is on Thursday against world number one Belgium in Copenhagen and will be followed by their final group game on Monday against Russia.
They lost the game to Finland 0-1 when it was restarted around two hours after the incident.
Player shock claim
Shocking new claims that Denmark have been under pressure to resume their Euro 2020 clash with Finland have emerged following Christian Eriksen’s collapse on the pitch.
Eriksen, 29, fell face down in the 43rd minute, needing intensive care by team doctors after suffering cardiac arrest.
The match resumed around 90 minutes later, with Finland winning 1-0.
After reuniting with Eriksen in hospital, relieved Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and team-mate Martin Braithwaite publicly expressed regret over UEFA’s handling of the situation.
“We were put in a position that I don’t think we should have been put in,” Schmeichel told local network DR.
“Someone above us probably had to say now was not the time to make a decision and maybe we should wait until the next day.”
Braithwaite said “none of the options were good, we took the least bad”.
Schmeichel’s father Peter, a great Danish keeper himself, revealed a pick was a 3-0 forfeit.
“I actually saw an official quote from UEFA yesterday saying they were taking players’ advice, the players insisted on playing,” he said on Good Morning Britain.
“I know that’s not the truth. Or, that’s how you see the truth. They were left with three options.
“One was to play straight away and play the last 50 minutes. The next one was due to arrive (Monday) at noon and complete the 50 minutes. And the third option was to forfeit and lose 3-0.
“Make it your own. Is it the wish of the players to play? Did they really have a choice? I don’t think they did.
He later spoke on BBC Radio, saying UEFA should have “showed a little compassion, and they didn’t”.
UEFA defended itself against the claims, saying it “is confident that it handled the matter with the utmost respect for the sensitive situation and for the players”.
But the governing body admitted that “the players’ need for 48 hours rest between matches has eliminated other options”, such as postponing the game for more than a day and rescheduling later fixtures.
“It was decided to resume the game only after both teams asked to finish the game on the same evening,” UEFA said.
In another worrying development, Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said he believed his players felt that on Thursday local time (Friday 2:00 a.m. AEST) it was still too early to return to the pitch to face Belgium.
“But maybe we can use it as a force to come together and try to do our best in the next game,” he said.
Kasper Schmeichel was hoping for the same result, saying “we have to try and see if we can win this and do it for Christian”.
“I have no doubt that this team has the unity, the strength to be able to come together and go out and do something special,” Schmeichel said.
The glover said seeing his friend and team-mate in hospital gave him some comfort.
“It was so damn nice to see him smile and laugh and be himself and feel like he’s there,” he said.
“It was a great experience and something that helped me a lot.”
Hjulmand admitted in hindsight that they should have walked away from the game, sharing his regret and saying the players understood “it was wrong” to be forced to decide to play.
“I know it’s very difficult but looking back I think it was the wrong decision to make the decision with the players in this scenario,” Hjulmand said.
“Players in shock, players who don’t really know yet if they’ve lost their best friend.
“They have to choose between these two things. I don’t think we should have played, but I know it’s difficult.
“We should have gotten on the bus and gone home and seen what the next few days would have brought, but that’s just my feeling now.
“I think it’s a very difficult decision and a difficult message that the players have tried to make a decision.
“I know it’s difficult, but I feel like the players thought it was a mistake to make this decision.”
Danish football director Peter Moller said “no one should blame the players”.
But while he added that he didn’t feel the pressure from UEFA in his position, Moller also said “I’m not sure it’s the right decision to play”.
“When you look at the players today, when you see how emotionally affected they are by the situation, we have to think about what we will do in the future.
“We all love football, but football is not the most important thing in the world. The most important thing is the people you love, your family and loved ones.
“The next day when we’re sitting here, I totally agree with Kasper that I don’t think the right decision was to play the game.”