Sunday, November 28, 2021

Eriksen’s teammates play ‘Euro’ for Christian ‘

COPENHAGEN – Christian Eriksen had a simple message for his Denmark teammates when he first spoke to them from the hospital after his collapse during the European Championships.

“He told us to look ahead and look forward to the game on Thursday,” Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg said on Monday. “It meant a lot. … It gave me a form of energy. ‘

Hojbjerg was one of three players in Denmark – along with goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and forward Martin Braithwaite – to speak to the media about Eriksen’s collapse.

The 29-year-old Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest during Saturday’s match against Finland and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator. The Inter midfielder remained in a stable condition in a hospital in Copenhagen on Monday.

Danish players Braithwaite and Hojbjerg
Danish players Martin Braithwaite (L) and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg attend a press conference in Elsinore, Denmark, on 14 June 2021. (Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

Eriksen spoke to his teammates on Sunday via a video link, which according to all three of his teammates was an important boost as they try to focus on the Euro 2020 tournament again. Denmark play Belgium in Group B on Thursday after losing 1-0 to Finland.

“It gives you the feeling that it’s good to move forward,” Hojbjerg said. “We really want to play on Thursday, play for Christian and play for everyone who has supported us.”

The team trained on Monday after the players had the chance to process the incident on Sunday.

The Danish players are highly praised at home for forming a circle around Eriksen to protect him from the public eye as the medical staff gave him CPR. The team doctor from Denmark said on Sunday that Eriksen was “gone” before he was blown up again.

Braithwaite could see praying as he stood in the circle around Eriksen and fought back tears on Monday when asked about that moment.

“I’m trying to do the only thing right now to help him,” Braithwaite said.

Hojbjerg tells of the initial confusion when he first saw Eriksen on the ground.

‘I turn around and I see Christian lying there. I could see the white of his eyes, “said Hojbjerg. ‘Then I saw more and more medical staff rushing to Christian and I saw Simon [Kjaer] waving his arms. ”

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Schmeichel, who is close friends with Eriksen and his family, said he could also visit the midfielder in hospital.

“It helped me a lot,” said the goalkeeper. ‘To see that he’s ready after lying there like that. … We talked about everything and nothing. That he is doing well, that’s the most important thing. ”

Denmark's national team
Denmark's national team
Players practice on the practice field during a training session of Denmark’s national team in Helsingor, Denmark, on 14 June 2021. (Martin Meissner / AP Photo)

Eriksen’s agent, Martin Schoots, is quoted in the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport as saying that the player was moved by the flood of support and messages he received from around the world. Schoots said he also spoke to Eriksen on Sunday.

“He was joking, he was in a good mood,” Schoots said. “We all want to understand what happened to him, he wants it too. The doctors do in-depth tests. … Christian does not want to give up. He and his family want to express their gratitude to everyone. ”

Schmeichel also praised the team’s medical staff as ‘heroes’ for bringing Eriksen back after his heart stopped.

“We are professional footballers who dedicate our lives to playing football. These people dedicate their lives to saving lives, ”Schmeichel said. “To be able to keep their heads calm in such circumstances and bring him back is a miracle.”

Eriksen’s collapse has brought down the whole state of mind surrounding Euro 2020 in Denmark, which is hosting major tournament games for the first time. But Braithwaite said Eriksen’s sustained recovery means he expects a jubilant atmosphere at Parken Stadium when the team plays Belgium.

“I have no doubt we will see something special at Parken on Thursday,” Braithwaite said. ‘Not just from the players, but also from the whole crowd. This is something I’m looking forward to. And I’m sure I would use that as motivation to go out and play for Christian. ”

By Mattias Karén

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