Medics worked frenetically to give Eriksen CPR while teammates choked away tears and formed a circle around the midfielder.
As Christian Eriksen lay unconscious on the field after collapsing during the Euro 2020 match, his pulse slipping away, Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen quickly realised there was not a second to lose.
“He was breathing, and I could feel his pulse. But suddenly that changed,” Boesen said. “And as everyone saw, we started giving him CPR.”
The next 10 minutes were among the scariest to ever unfold during a match at football’s European Championship.
Several medics worked frenetically to give Eriksen chest compressions while his teammates choked away tears and formed a circle around the midfielder to shield the scene from public view.
And finally, the eerie silence that had descended around Parken Stadium was replaced with massive cheers.
“The help came really, really fast from the medical team and the rest of the staff, and with their cooperation, we did what we had to do. We managed to get Christian back.”
Eriksen was awake and in stable condition on Saturday night after being taken to a Copenhagen hospital, the Danish football federation said.
Just before half-time, the midfielder fell face-forward onto the ground. His teammates, Finland players and the referee immediately gestured for help and medics rushed onto the field.
Eriksen’s partner, Sabrina Kvist Jensen, went onto the field and was comforted by Denmark captain Simon Kjaer and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
The Finland players huddled by their bench and eventually walked off the field while the Inter Milan midfielder was still getting treatment.
Eriksen was eventually carried off to a loud ovation, with his teammates walking next to the stretcher.
Inter Milan team physician Piero Volpi told The Associated Press that Eriksen never contracted COVID-19, has no medical conditions that he is aware of and has passed every medical exam without problems since joining the club in January 2020 from Tottenham.
“But we’ll talk about that when the time is right,” Volpi added of Eriksen’s medical history. “Right now, the important thing is that he recovers.”
Finland went on to win 1-0 after Joel Pohjanpalo scored in the 60th minute and goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky later saved a penalty.
But in the end, the result seemed merely an afterthought.
“Of course you can’t play a game with such feelings,” Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said.
“What we tried to do was incredible. It’s incredible that the players managed to go out and try to play the second half.”
UEFA said both teams had held an emergency meeting before deciding to continue playing. The players came back out onto the field to a huge ovation as they started warming up for a second time.
Hjulmand said the teams were given the option of finishing the game on Saturday or resuming on Sunday.
“The players couldn’t imagine not being able to sleep tonight and then having to get in tomorrow, get on the bus and play a game,” Hjulmand said. “Honestly, it was best to get it over with.”
Eriksen is one of Denmark’s biggest stars and the incident brought an instant sense of shock to the Parken Stadium, where about 15,000 fans fell into hushed silence.
Some supporters could be seen crying and hugging in the stands.
As the fans in the stadium were waiting for updates, Finland supporters started chanting “Christian! Christian,” which was then answered by the Danish fans shouting “Eriksen! Eriksen!”
A huge roar then went up from all supporters when the stadium announcer said Eriksen was “stable and awake”.
The incident brought back memories of other football players who have collapsed on the field, including Marc-Vivien Foe and Fabrice Muamba.
Foe died while playing for Cameroon during the 2003 Confederations Cup in France, while Muamba needed CPR in 2012 when he collapsed in a match between Bolton and Tottenham at White Hart Lane in north London.
Muamba, who fully recovered, wrote ”Please God” on Twitter as Eriksen was taken to hospital.