Danish players trained on Monday for the first time since Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest as Kasper Hjulmand’s side put on a brave face following Saturday’s distressing scenes in Copenhagen.
The former Tottenham midfielder, who now plays for Inter Milan, required 13 minutes of CPR after collapsing just before half-time but was taken to hospital in a stable condition, where he remains.
With Eriksen’s permission, the Danes elected to resume the game against Finland just two hours after the incident, a move that legend Peter Schmeichel has described as ‘ridiculous’.
And Hjulmand’s side have taken to the training pitch at their base in Elsinore, Denmark, for the first time without their star man.
Captain Simon Kjaer, who has won praise for his heroics during the ordeal, cut a forlorn figure while the Danes were put through their paces on Monday.
Denmark players put on a brave face as they trained for the first time since Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday
Eriksen collapsed during Denmark’s Euro 2020 game with Finland in distressing scenes
Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard also looked preoccupied, with football very much on the back-burner as Eriksen recovers in hospital.
Coach Hjulmand and Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen appeared exhausted after what has understandably been a traumatic 48 hours for the World No 10-ranked side.
The Danes are preparing to face Belgium on Thursday in Copenhagen, while concerns remain over UEFA’s handling of Saturday’s game.
Peter Schmeichel, father of Leicester and Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he did not think the players had a choice as to whether to continue.
When asked if it was the players’ decision for the game to be restarted after Eriksen had been taken to hospital, Schmeichel said: ‘Well that’s an interesting debate.
‘I actually saw an official quote from UEFA yesterday saying that they were following the advice of the player, the players insisted on playing – I know that not to be the truth.
The former Tottenham midfielder, who now plays for Inter Milan, was taken to hospital in a stable condition, where he remains
Kasper Hjulmand’s side returned to training at their Elsinore base in Denmark on Monday
Captain Simon Kjaer, who won praise for his heroics on Saturday, cut a forlorn figure
Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard appeared pre-occupied during drills in training
Chelsea star Andreas Christensen looked exhausted after a traumatic 48 hours for the country
Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel catches the ball during the training session
WHAT IS A CARDIAC ARREST? HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM A HEART ATTACK?
A heart attack and a cardiac arrest are not the same thing
A cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops pumping blood around their body and they stop breathing normally
A heart attack is when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked. The heart muscle is robbed of its vital blood supply and, if left untreated, will begin to die because it is not getting enough oxygen
Many cardiac arrests in adults happen because of a heart attack. This is because a person who is having a heart attack may develop a dangerous heart rhythm, which can cause a cardiac arrest
Source: British Heart Foundation
‘Or, it’s how you see the truth. They were left with three options, one was to play immediately and get the last 50 minutes played.
‘The next one was to come in yesterday at 12 noon and finish the 50 minutes and the third option was to forfeit the game, 3-0.
‘So work it out for yourself. Is it the players’ wish to play? Did they have any choice really? I don’t think they had.
‘As you can hear from yesterday’s press conference, the coach, he seriously regrets putting the players back on to the pitch.’
Denmark’s team doctor Morten Boesen confirmed Eriksen was stable having suffered a cardiac arrest and that ‘he was gone’ prior to being resuscitated.
Eriksen’s team-mates formed a shield round him while he was being treated on the pitch and Peter Schmeichel is concerned about the effects the incident has had on Denmark’s players.
He added: ‘It’s very difficult to say exactly what the longer-term impact will be (for the players) from that experience, which I know having spoken to Kasper was very traumatic for everyone.
‘It’s a very dramatic scene when someone has to be defibrillated and shocked back to life.’
Eriksen released his first public statement on Monday following the incident, insisting he ‘feels better’ and ‘won’t give up’.
‘Thank you, I won’t give up. I feel better now – but I want to understand what’s happened,’ he said. ‘I want to say thank you all for what you did for me.’
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Martin Braithwaite and Kasper Schmeichel all spoke on Monday morning at a press conference – the first time any of Eriksen’s Denmark team-mates have appeared publicly since Saturday’s game.
Schmeichel said: ‘I have chosen to say to myself that this has had a happy ending – it’s not the end yet, but it could have been so much worse.
Hjulmand puts his hands to his head as the toil of the preceding 48 hours takes its toll
Denmark are preparing to face Belgium on Thursday amid queries over Saturday’s events
Denmark legend Peter Schmeichel says the squad weren’t given much of a choice by UEFA
‘I am grateful to be part of a team that has stood together as much as we have done. And I’m grateful Christian’s still here.
‘I tried to imagine if it was me who was lying there. I knew Christian’s wife, children, and parents were there, so at one point I tried to look for them. It is an inhuman situation for them to go through.’
Braithwaite added: ‘We were all about to lose a friend and a team-mate. I do not remember exactly what I said in the prayer. But it has strengthened my faith, that’s for sure.’
Hojbjerg said: ‘I saw Christian lying there and looking towards the field. His eyes were white and I thought it looked very strange. I saw Simon Kjaer rush off, and then you start thinking what it is. I walked slowly across the bench.
‘More and more first aiders came over, and I could see Simon waving his arms. I stood for a long time with the coaches and talked, and I could see that there are some arms that move with the first aid. That was creepy.’
Schmeichel, Braithwaite and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg all spoke emotionally on their team-mate