Kasper Hjulmand explained Denmark’s decision to resume their match against Finland and paid tribute to his players’ protective actions of Christian Eriksen.
Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand paid tribute to his players after Christian Eriksen’s collapse in their Euro 2020 opener against Finland.
The 29-year-old collapsed in the 42nd-minute of the match and had to be given CPR on the pitch. His teammates formed a protective shield around him and held white blankets to obscure him from the public eye as medical staff administered treatment and stretched the player off the field.
The medical staff ultimately revived Eriksen and took him to hospital, where he remains in a stable condition.
“We have a group of players that I cannot praise enough,” said an emotional Hjulmand in a post-match conference on Saturday. “I couldn’t be prouder of those people who took such good care of each other.
“The way the players talked in the dressing room, to decide to not do anything before we knew Christian was conscious [is worth saluting].
“It’s been a tough night. We are all reminded of what the most important thing in life is – to have valuable relationships, people we’re close to, our family, and our friends. Everything, everything, everything – all thoughts are with Christian and his family.”
‘Everyone agreed to play the game’
After a prolonged delay, Denmark decided to continue their match with Finland rather than postpone it until midday on Sunday.
UEFA agreed to allow the match to restart ‘following the request made by players of both teams.’
The Finnish players applaud their opponents as they returned to the pitch. The two teams then completed the last five minutes of the first half, took a five-minute break, and then played the second half.
Joel Pohjanpalo scored after the short break to seal Finland a 1-0 win.
“We had two options, to play the game [today] or tomorrow at 12pm,” explained Hjulmand on his team’s decision to continue.
“Everyone agreed to play the game.
“You can’t play a game with such feelings, [but] there were no players who could manage to go home, sleep and get up again [after what happened].
“We tried to win. It was incredible to go out and try to play that second half. Honestly, we had players out there that were completely done, emotionally done, and emotionally exhausted.”