'He was gone': Startling new details in Christian Eriksen collapse

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In this picture Christian Eriksen is stretchered off the pitch after collapsing at Euro 2020.
Christian Eriksen's pulse stopped before medical staff were able to revive him in a terrifying moment at Euro 2020. Pic: Getty

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen technically died after suffering cardiac arrest during a horrific moment in his country's opening Euro 2020 football match against Finland in Copenhagen.

That's according to Denmark's team doctor Morten Boesen, who has shed more light on the terrifying moments after the midfielder collapsed on the field before the end of the first half.

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"He was gone, and we did cardiac resuscitation," Boesen said at a news conference.

“When I got to him, he’s on his side. He is breathing and I can see pulse but suddenly that changes, and as everyone saw we started giving him CPR.

“The help came really, really fast from the medical team and the rest of the staff, and with their cooperation we did what we did to do. We managed to get Christian back.”

Eriksen is in stable condition at a Copenhagen hospital after collapsing late in the first half of Denmark's tournament opener against Finland. 

Paramedics and doctors, including Boesen, rushed onto the field to treat him. They administered CPR and used a defibrillator, or AED.

"We got him back after one defib, so that's quite fast," Boesen said.

"How close were we [to losing Eriksen]? I don't know," he said.

A professor of sports cardiology at London's St George's University who worked with Eriksen at Tottenham Hotspur admitted that he didn't know "whether he'll ever play football again."

"Without putting it too bluntly, he died today, albeit for a few minutes, but he did die and would the medical professional allow him to die again? Professor Sanjay Sharma remarked.

Referee Anthony Taylor and Danish captain Simon Kjaer were praised as hero's for their quick-thinking during a deeply distressing period out in the middle of the pitch.

Pictured here, Danish captain Simon Kjaer and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel console Eriksen's shattered partner.
Danish captain Simon Kjaer and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel consoled Eriksen's shattered partner. Pic: Getty

Kjaer was one of the first players to rush to Eriksen's aid, turning his teammate on his side, making sure his neck wasn't compromised and his airways were clear, before administering CPR as the players waited for medical staff to get onto the ground.

He was seen consoling Eriksen's grief-stricken partner Sabrina Kvist Jensen, who came down to the pitch in tears due to the distressing events that had unfolded.

The Danish skipper also instructed his teammates to join together and form a barrier around the player to protect his privacy and keep the cameras away.

Referee Taylor was also hailed around the world for the speed at which he stopped the game once the seriousness of the situation became clear.

Just five seconds passed between the moment Eriksen collapsed and when Taylor stopped the match, with Prince William mentioning him in a shout-out on his Royal social media account.

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Eriksen was transported to a nearby hospital on a stretcher. His agent and other officials confirmed later that night and the next morning that he was breathing, awake and alert. 

He communicated with teammates and coaches less than two hours after being wheeled off the field, and again the next morning, according to Denmark's football federation.

Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand said Eriksen "was concerned about us and, of course, his family. 

He said, 'I don't remember much' and 'I'm more concerned about you guys, how are you doing?'"

Eriksen remains in the hospital undergoing testing.

As for the cause of the cardiac arrest, Boesen, the team doctor, said: "I'm not a cardiologist, so the details I will leave to the experts at the hospital."

'Wrong' to resume game after incident

Denmark and Finland resumed the match less than two hours after Eriksen collapsed. UEFA, European football's governing body, said the decision to restart the game had been made by players. 

Hjulmand, however, said UEFA had given his team two options: to complete the game Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.

"The players couldn’t imagine not being able to sleep tonight and then having to get on the bus and come in again tomorrow," Hjulmand said. 

"Honestly, it was best to get it over with."

But at a Sunday news conference, he reconsidered. "Looking back, it was the wrong thing to make the decision between the two scenarios to the players in this case," Hjulmand said.

"Players were in a shock condition – players who didn't really know yet if they had lost their best friend. And they have to decide between these two things.

"I have a sense that we shouldn't have played. I know it's difficult. It's just a feeling I have. Maybe we should have just gone on to the bus and gone home and let's see what the next days would have brought."

Eriksen's teammates can be seen here crying after his collapse.
Eriksen's teammates were understandably distraught after his collapse. Pic: Getty

Some 20 minutes after the match restarted, Finland scored – with its only shot in its first-ever game at a major international tournament – and held on for a 1-0 upset. 

Denmark's next match is against Group B favourites Belgium.

In a statement Sunday morning, the Danish football federation said that players and staff were receiving "crisis assistance" and "will continue to be there for each other after yesterday's incident."

"We will try tomorrow to establish normality as much as is possible. Players have different kinds of shocks and traumas and emotions," Hjulmand added.

"We will try to use the next couple of days as good as possible. I will try to get a feeling of the players. Maybe for some, the time is too short to be able to play football again."

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