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Peter Schmeichel: Denmark did not want to play after Christian Eriksen collapse

·4-min read

Former goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel claims Denmark’s players did not want to restart their Euro 2020 game against Finland after Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest.

Schmeichel, father of Leicester and Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he did not think the players had a choice.

When asked if it was the players’ decision for the game to be restarted after Eriksen had been taken to hospital, Schmeichel said: “Well that’s an interesting debate.

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“I actually saw an official quote from UEFA yesterday saying that they were following the advice of the player, the players insisted on playing – I know that not to be the truth.

“Or, it’s how you see the truth. They were left with three options, one was to play immediately and get the last 50 minutes played.

“The next one was to come in yesterday at 12 noon and finish the 50 minutes and the third option was to forfeit the game, 3-0.

“So work it out for yourself. Is it the players’ wish to play? Did they have any choice really? I don’t think they had.

Peter Schmeichel made 129 appearances for Denmark
Peter Schmeichel made 129 appearances for Denmark (Martin Rickett/PA)

“As you can hear from yesterday’s press conference, the coach, he seriously regrets putting the players back on to the pitch.”

UEFA defended its handling of the incident, and said in a statement: “UEFA is sure it treated the matter with utmost respect for the sensitive situation and for the players.

“It was decided to restart the match only after the two teams requested to finish the game on the same evening.

“The players’ need for 48 hours’ rest between matches eliminated other options.”

Inter Milan and former Tottenham midfielder Eriksen collapsed on Saturday during the first half of Denmark’s opening match and was treated on the pitch before being taken to hospital.

Denmark’s team doctor Morten Boesen later confirmed Eriksen was stable having suffered a cardiac arrest and that “he was gone” prior to being resuscitated.

Eriksen’s agent Martin Schoots told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport that the player was in a “good mood” and joking when he spoke to him on Sunday.

Denmark’s Yussuf Poulsen, right, and Mathias Jensen react after seeing Eriksen collapse
Denmark’s Yussuf Poulsen, right, and Mathias Jensen react after seeing Eriksen collapse (Stuart Franklin/AP)

“We all want to understand what happened to him, he wants to do it too. The doctors are carrying out in-depth examinations, it will take time,” Schoots said.

“He was happy because he understood how much love is around. Messages have reached him from all over the world.

“Christian doesn’t give up. He and his family want (to send) their thanks to everyone.”

Eriksen’s team-mates formed a shield round him while he was being treated on the pitch and Peter Schmeichel is concerned about the effects the incident has had on Denmark’s players.

Christian Eriksen receives medical treatment during Denmark's opening Euro 2020 game against Finalnd at the Parken stadium in Copenhagen
Christian Eriksen receives medical treatment during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 game against Finland (Martin Meissner/AP)

He added: “It’s very difficult to say exactly what the longer-term impact will be (for the players) from that experience, which I know having spoken to Kasper was very traumatic for everyone.

“It’s a very dramatic scene when someone has to be defibrillated and shocked back to life.”

Professor Sanjay Sharma, a cardiologist at St George’s University Hospital in London and medical director for the London Marathon, said it was unlikely Eriksen would be able to continue with his playing career.

“If we assume he’s had a virus, then that will certainly have caused inflammation and left a scar in the heart,” professor Sharma told GMB.

“If something like that was capable of causing a sudden cardiac death a couple of days ago, then there’s a chance that any remaining scar could possibly do that in the future.

“So one thing they will do is implant something called a cardioverter-defibrillator that watches his heart day and night and that will be able to deliver a shock in the future.

“But whether he competes again is dependable on lots of factors, his own psyche, his discussions with his wife and children and also the legislation in various countries.

“For example, in Italy where he competes he certainly would not be able to play football again.”

Hugo Lloris, left, and Christian Eriksen were long-time team-mates at Tottenham
Hugo Lloris, left, and Christian Eriksen were long-time team-mates at Tottenham (Martin Rickett/PA)

Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris felt the response to his former club-mate’s plight showed the strength of football.

“We received the information after training, we were worried, stressed out, and then got to know that he felt better,” replied the France keeper when asked about Eriksen ahead of his country’s Euro 2020 opener against Germany.

“These are pictures that you don’t want to see, especially not on a football pitch. But you have to underline how the players reacted, how the fans reacted in the stadium. This was a very delicate situation and it could have gone a different way.

“The support that he has been getting from all around the world shows how strong football is and the most important thing to know is he is stable and in a good condition.”

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