COPENHAGEN: Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen was conscious in hospital on Saturday, soccer officials said, after collapsing during his side's Euro 2020 opening soccer match with Finland and being given CPR on the pitch.
Eriksen collapsed suddenly in the 42nd minute of the match while running near the left touchline after a Denmark throw-in. As a hush fell over the 16,000-strong crowd, his teammates formed a ring around him as medics pumped his chest.
A Reuters photographer at the game saw Eriksen raise his hand as he was carried away from the pitch on a stretcher, and the Danish football association later said on Twitter that the 29-year-old was awake at the nearby Rigshospitalet, where he was being examined.
“We have been in contact with him and the players have spoken to Christian,” said Peter Moller of the Danish Football Association.
The game was initially suspended but it was decided that it would resume at 1830 GMT, with Finland eventually running out 1-0 winners.
“He is doing well and they are playing the match for Christian,” Moller said.
The game was scoreless when Eriksen, who plays club soccer for Inter Milan in Italy, collapsed just before halftime in their Group B clash. Teammates Martin Braithwaite and Thomas Delaney rushed to assist him, with Delaney beckoning furiously for medical assistance.
People gathered outside bars in central Copenhagen, many in tears, in the long period when Eriksen's condition remained unclear.
Both teams subsequently left the field with officials holding up sheets to hide the stricken player from view, and the stadium announcer told fans that the game had been suspended due to a medical emergency and to stay in their seats.
The crowd at the Parken stadium in Copenhagen sang the Danish national anthem and shouted “Christian Eriksen” while they were waiting for news about the player.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Christian Eriksen and his family,” Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo said on Instagram. “The world of football stands together hoping for good news. I’m counting on finding you soon back on the pitch, Chris! Stay strong!”
Eriksen's team-mate at Inter Milan, Lautaro Martinez, wrote on the site: “Come on Chris! Please Chris.”