Danish players criticise decision to resume game after Eriksen collapse

Denmark’s forward Martin Braithwaite gives a press conference at the team’s training grounds in Helsingor, north of Copenhagen, June 14, 2021, during the Uefa Euro 2020 European Football Championship. — AFP pic
Denmark’s forward Martin Braithwaite gives a press conference at the team’s training grounds in Helsingor, north of Copenhagen, June 14, 2021, during the Uefa Euro 2020 European Football Championship. — AFP pic

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HELSINGOR (Denmark), June 14 — Denmark’s goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and striker Martin Braithwaite today lamented that they had to choose whether to restart the Denmark-Finland Euro 2020 match while they were reeling from Christian Eriksen’s mid-game collapse.

“We were put in a position, that I personally feel that we shouldn’t have been put in,” Schmeichel told Danish media at a press event in Helsingor north of Copenhagen.

“We had two options,” Schmeichel explained. “Either come back the day after (Sunday) at noon or continue the game.”

The Leicester City goalkeeper said he wished someone more senior would’ve said “that it wasn’t the time to take that decision, and that we should maybe wait until the day after to decide”.

“What has happened has happened, and hopefully they’ll learn from this,” Schmeichel said, as he praised what he considered the real “heroes” of the game, the medics.

Barcelona striker Martin Braithwaite said the players would have “wanted a third option, because we didn’t want to play,” noting that the decision to resume the game was “not a wish”.

“It was one of the only possibilities we had, and we were told we should make a decision,” Braithwaite said.

The comments mark the first time since Eriksen’s dramatic collapse and cardiac arrest on Saturday in the game against Finland that his teammates have spoken to the press.

Eriksen’s condition is still “stable” and  “good”, Jakob Hoyer, the Danish Football Union’s communications director said, adding that the player remained in hospital.

The players were able to talk to Eriksen via a video call yesterday, and he was also visited in the hospital by Schmeichel.

“He said in his own way that we should look forward to the game on Thursday (against Belgium). It meant a lot,” midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who missed a penalty against Finland after the restart, told Danish media. — AFP

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