Denmark captain Simon Kjaer’s leadership praised after Christian Eriksen’s collapse


Denmark captain Simon Kjaer has been lauded for his quick-thinking that may have helped save teammate Christian Eriksen’s life.

Fans, teammates and rivals were left aghast after Inter star Eriksen collapsed towards the end of the first half of Denmark’s game with Finland at the Euro Championships.

It has since been confirmed by the Danish Football Association that Eriksen is “awake” in hospital and awaiting further tests.

But Kjaer, the Danish captain, sprung to action as soon as Eriksen fell to the ground. He made sure his teammate’s neck wasn’t compromised, cleared his airways and then administered CPR before medical officials arrived.

He then went over to Eriksen’s wife, Sabrina, and consoled her while Denmark players protected Eriksen’s privacy and formed a barrier around the 29-year old. Referee Anthony Taylor was also commended for stopping the match five seconds after the incident.

Kjaer was praised for his leadership and even led the players out after the match was stopped for 90 minutes. However, he couldn’t continue and left the game shortly after.

“Simon was deeply, deeply affected. Deeply affected. He was in doubt whether he could continue and gave it a shot, but it could not be done,” an emotional Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand explained.

“There are players in there who are completely emotionally finished. They are holding each other. It was a traumatic experience.

“I said that, no matter what, everything was OK. We had to allow ourselves to show joy and aggression, to make room for the emotions. You cannot play a football match at this level without being aggressive. It cannot be done,” he added.

When the players returned to the pitch and went through their warm-up drills it was obvious the Danes were clearly affected by the trauma of witnessing the incident, with some wiping away tears and others sharing hugs.

Denmark’s Emil Hojbjerg missed a penalty and Finish star Pohjanpalo headed the winner home on the hour mark with his side’s only attempt on goal. His celebration was subdued out of respect for Eriksen.

“Today we’re all winners as long as the healing process is well underway … everything else is a bonus and less important, our thoughts are all there,” Finland goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky said.

“It was grim in the locker room and we were all thinking ‘What will happen now?’ and hoping everything will be fine. It was a really hard day,” added the Finland player.

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