Schmeichel criticises decision to continue Denmark game after Christian Eriksen's collapse

After he was carried off the pitch on a stretcher, the fans inside the stadium in Copenhagen chanted Eriksen’s name in a moment of unity
Schmeichel criticises decision to continue Denmark game after Christian Eriksen's collapse

Denmark players react after the collapse of their teammate Christian Eriksen during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, Saturday, June 12, 2021. Picture: Friedemann Vogel/Pool via AP

Peter Schmeichel, the former Danish goalkeeper, has criticised the decision to resume the Finland-Denmark game last night as "ridiculous" after Christian Eriksen's collapse in the first half. 

"It's a ridiculous decision by Uefa. They should have tried to work out a different scenario and shown a little bit of compassion, and they didn't," said the former Danish shot-stopper. 

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Mr Schmeichel, whose son Kasper is now the current goalkeeper for Denmark, said the result of the game is completely irrelevant after a medical incident like Christian Eriksen's. 

Denmark captain Christian Eriksen was awake as he left the pitch on a stretcher. Picture: Friedemann Vogel/AP/PA
Denmark captain Christian Eriksen was awake as he left the pitch on a stretcher. Picture: Friedemann Vogel/AP/PA

Denmark's national team had two options available to them. The first was to continue the game on Saturday night or finish it this afternoon at noon. 

"Something terrible like that happens and Uefa gives the players an option to go out and play the game or come back at 12:00 on Sunday. What kind of option is that?

"The result of the game is completely irrelevant. I mean, how can you play?" said Mr Schmeichel. 

The midfielder is now “stable” and set to remain in hospital, the Danish football federation has said.

The former Tottenham playmaker collapsed yesterday during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 match with Finland before being treated on the pitch and taken to hospital.

Denmark’s fixture with Finland resumed after an almost 90-minute delay with the teams welcomed back onto the Parken Stadium pitch to warm applause.

After it was later confirmed the Inter Milan player was stable, his team-mates agreed to resume the fixture in Copenhagen, with Finland claiming a 1-0 win thanks to Joel Pohjanpalo’s 59th-minute goal.

In a statement on Twitter, the Danish FA said: “Latest news: This morning we have spoken to Christian Eriksen, who has sent his greetings to his teammates.

“His condition is stable and he continues to be hospitalised for further examination.

“The team and staff of the national team has received crisis assistance and will continue to be there for each other after yesterday’s incident.

“We would like to thank everyone for the heartfelt greetings to Christian Eriksen from fans, players, the Royal Families from both Denmark and England, international associations, clubs etc.

“We encourage everyone to send their greetings to the Danish FA, where we will make sure they are all passed on to Christian and his family.” After Eriksen collapsed, his team-mates formed a shield around the 29-year-old while he received treatment and fans from both sets of countries chanted the name of the midfielder.

Danish fans react after Denmark's Christian Eriksen collapsed during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland
Danish fans react after Denmark's Christian Eriksen collapsed during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland

After the incident, the Danish Football Association confirmed the 29-year-old’s condition and revealed the match would be completed on Saturday night.

A statement read: “Christian Eriksen is awake and his condition remains stable. He remains hospitalized at Rigshospitalet for further examinations.

“The match against Finland will be played tonight (Saturday). This happened after the players had it confirmed that Christian is okay. The match resumes at 20.30 (19.30 BST).”

UEFA confirmed players from both sides requested the Group B encounter be finished, which was goalless just before half time.

“Following the request made by players of both teams, UEFA has agreed to restart the match between Denmark and Finland tonight,” a statement said.

“The last four minutes of the first half will be played, there will then be a five-minute half-time break followed by the second half.”

BBC issues apology over broadcast

BBC had shown the fixture and issued an apology after images of Eriksen receiving treatment were broadcast before the programme was brought to a premature end.

Presenter Gary Lineker and pundits Cesc Fabregas, Alex Scott and Micah Richards all appeared in total shock when footage cut back to the studio with Scott visibly emotional when asked about the incident.

In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said: “Everyone at the BBC is hoping Christian Eriksen makes a full recovery.

“We apologise to anyone who was upset by the images broadcast.

“In-stadium coverage is controlled by UEFA as the host broadcaster, and as soon as the match was suspended, we took our coverage off air as quickly as possible.”

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “Moments like this put everything in life into perspective. I wish Christian a full and speedy recovery and pray his family has strength and faith.

“At these times, the unity of the football family is so strong and he and his family carry with them the good wishes and prayers of everyone.

“I heard of fans of both teams chanting his name. Football is beautiful and Christian plays it beautifully.”

Eriksen’s club side Inter Milan said on Twitter: “Forza Chris, all of our thoughts are with you” and former team Tottenham added: “Get well soon Christian. The whole Spurs family is with you.”

Inter teammate Romelu Lukaku paid tribute to Eriksen after he scored for Belgium against Russia in Saturday evening’s other Euro 2020 match.

He said to the pitchside camera: “Chris, I love you” after he broke the deadlock in the Group B clash.

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