What happened to Christian Eriksen at Euro 2020?

Christian Eriksen is set to don the Denmark jersey once again at a European Championship as Kasper Hjulmand’s squad gears up for Euro 2024. Competing in Group C, Denmark will face off against Slovenia, Serbia, and England.

It’s been just three years since the world watched in shock as Eriksen collapsed on the field during Denmark’s opening match of the delayed Euro 2020 against Finland at Parken in Copenhagen. The incident put Eriksen’s life in jeopardy, and the idea of him continuing his career seemed almost impossible.

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However, the 32-year-old has made a remarkable comeback. After stints with Ajax, Tottenham, and Inter Milan, Eriksen recently claimed an FA Cup winners’ medal with Manchester United. He now has the opportunity to finish Euro 2024 as Denmark’s most-capped player of all time.

 

What happened to Christian Eriksen at Euro 2020?

In the 42nd minute of Denmark’s match against Finland on June 12, 2021, Christian Eriksen suddenly collapsed on the turf, remaining motionless and causing immediate alarm. His captain, Simon Kjaer, swiftly placed Eriksen in the recovery position, earning widespread praise for his quick-thinking response.

Eriksen received urgent medical treatment on the pitch, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation. After being stretchered off, it was confirmed he was awake and in stable condition at the hospital.

The game was initially suspended but controversially resumed later that evening. Finland’s Joel Pohjanpalo scored with an hour on the clock, and Denmark’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg missed a penalty 16 minutes from time, resulting in a 1-0 defeat for the hosts. Despite the loss, UEFA named Eriksen its player of the match.

The decision to resume the game faced heavy criticism. Denmark’s coach, Kasper Hjulmand, later expressed regret, and Peter Schmeichel, a Denmark goalkeeping legend and father of current keeper Kasper Schmeichel, accused UEFA of pressuring the team to finish the match.

On June 16, it was announced that Eriksen would be fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), a device similar to an artificial pacemaker used to prevent further heart issues. This effectively ended his career with Inter Milan due to Serie A rules prohibiting players with ICDs from competing.

However, Eriksen did not retire. Players with ICDs can compete in other leagues, and after his contract with Inter was terminated on December 17, 2021, he trained with his boyhood club OB. An opportunity to return to the Premier League arose with Brentford, managed by fellow Dane Thomas Frank. Eriksen signed a six-month deal with the club and impressed in 11 appearances, including scoring a goal in a 4-1 derby win over Chelsea.

His performances attracted several suitors, and Eriksen’s connection with Ajax played a role in Erik ten Hag bringing him to Manchester United ahead of the 2022/23 season. Over the past two seasons, Eriksen has made 50 Premier League appearances for the Red Devils, collecting winners’ medals in the 2022/23 Carabao Cup and the 2023/24 FA Cup.

Christian Eriksen’s triumphant return to the Denmark setup occurred on March 26, 2022, a month after his Brentford debut. Coming on as a halftime substitute in a friendly against the Netherlands, Eriksen scored within two minutes, completing a fairy-tale comeback despite Denmark’s 4-2 defeat. He also scored three days later in a 3-0 win over their Euro 2024 opponents, Serbia.

Although Denmark was eliminated in the group stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Eriksen played every minute of their campaign. He is expected to be a key player when Denmark begins their Euro 2024 campaign against Slovenia on June 16.