England cancelled their press conference previewing the eagerly-anticipated Euro 2020 clash against Croatia after former Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed in Denmark’s group opener.
The Three Lions kick off a tournament they hope to begin and end at Wembley on Sunday afternoon against the side that knocked them out at the semi-final stage of the World Cup three years ago.
England manager Gareth Southgate and captain Harry Kane were due to preview the Group D contest at 6.30pm on Saturday, before the distressing events in Copenhagen began to filter through.
Denmark’s match against tournament debutants Finland was suspended after skipper Eriksen collapsed late in the first half, leading to lengthy medical treatment and the player being taken to hospital.
Kane played with the 29-year-old for many years at Tottenham, where fellow England squad members Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier were also team-mates.
A message displayed on the virtual link that had been due to host the pre-match press conference read: “In light of the awful events unfolding in Copenhagen, the FA have asked permission not to do their press conference scheduled at 19.30 CET. So the ENG press conference is cancelled. Thank you for your understanding.”
The Football Association said in a statement: “Our thoughts this evening are with Christian Eriksen and his family, and all connected with the Danish Football Union.”
Marcus Rashford sent a prayer emoji alongside one of a Danish flag on Twitter, while fellow England forward Raheem Sterling posted: “Thoughts and prayers go out to Christian Eriksen and his family.”
Ben Chilwell posted the same and Declan Rice said he was “praying for @ChrisEriksen8”, with Jadon Sancho also expressing that sentiment.
England released comments from boss Southgate via Twitter later on Saturday.
“We are encouraged by the update from @DBUfodbold this evening,” he said.
“On behalf of The @FA, our players and staff, we send our very best wishes to Christian and those close to him.
“We pay tribute to those who went to his aid with such care to give the support he received. Our thoughts remain with Christian and his family tonight.”