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2020 European Championship, Group Stage
  • Joel Pohjanpalo (60')

Finland beat Denmark but game overshadowed by Eriksen collapse

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Denmark and Finland players show support for Eriksen (0:28)

Players from Denmark and Finland link arms on the field to show support for Christian Eriksen before resuming play. (0:28)

Finland claimed a shock 1-0 Euro 2020 victory over Denmark in their first major tournament appearance on Saturday after the match had been suspended when Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen required emergency medical treatment on the pitch.

The 29-year-old midfielder Eriksen collapsed towards the end of the first half and was given CPR by medics as his team mates formed a ring around him, before he was carried off on a stretcher and both teams left the pitch.

The game was stopped for one hour and 45 minutes but resumed after the Danish Football Association announced that Eriksen was awake and stable in hospital and both sets of players told soccer's European governing body UEFA they wanted to continue.

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The players returned to the pitch and went through their warm-up drills for a second time but the Danes were clearly affected by the trauma of Eriksen's collapse, with some wiping away tears and many hugs being exchanged.

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UEFA said Eriksen has been stabilized, and the Danish football federation said he was awake.

"Christian Eriksen is awake and is undergoing further examinations at Rigshospitalet," the Danish federation wrote on Twitter.

Danish football federation director Peter Moeller said Eriksen got a "heart massage" while being treated on the field.

"He fell over and got help and heart massage on the field," Moeller told Danish public broadcaster DR. "He was fortunately awake when he left stadium."

The game restarted and the last five minutes of the first half were played. Halftime was shortened to five minutes before play resumed again, as did Denmark's dominance of the match.

The Finns appeared to suffer stage fright in their first appearance at the finals of a major tournament, dropping to five at the back to try to snuff out Denmark's intricate passing and relying on winning free kicks to get some breathing space.

However, Finland striker Joel Pohjanpalo popped up against the run of play to head the winner on the hour with his side's only attempt of the game before celebrating in a restrained fashion on the side of the field where Eriksen had collapsed.

Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen won a penalty when he went down under slight contact in the 73rd minute and midfielder Pierre Emil Hojbjerg stepped up to take the spot kick, but Lucas Hradecky got down smartly to save.

In all, the hosts had 22 efforts on goal but could not make them count as Hradecky and his defence performed heroically to keep them out until the final whistle.

As the Danes trudged dejectedly off the field, the Finnish players celebrated with their ecstatic fans, but ultimately it was a night when football did not matter with Eriksen being treated at a hospital about one kilometre away.

"Of course it was hard for us to go to the pitch, and I can only imagine how hard it was for Denmark. A great victory for us, but the foremost thing on our minds is Christian's condition," scorer Pohjanpalo told Finnish broadcaster YLE.

Speaking after the game, Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen, who came out to treat Eriksen, described what happened.

"I want to start by saying that I've had a talk with Christian's family. I'm not going to say anything in detail right now. I want to say what we've seen, Boesen said. "We were called on to the pitch when Christian fell down. I didn't see it myself, but it was pretty clear that he was unconscious. When I got to him, he is on his side. He is breathing and I can feel his pulse, but suddenly that changes. And as everyone saw, we started giving him CPR."

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said he was left "very affected" after the match.

"I was involved in a similar situation as a coach where we almost lost someone on the field, and I can feel that it means something, and now I see how everyone reaches out to their family right now and tries FaceTiming them," Hjulmand said. "So that's what a situation like this does. It's a tough night to go out this way. All of our thoughts and prayers are with Christian right now and his family. Christian is one of our best players, is one of the best players there is, and he's an even better person. So, all my thoughts and all my positive energy go out to Christian."