A star Danish footballer suddenly collapsed on the pitch during a UEFA Euro 2020 match on Saturday afternoon, leaving players and fans in tears, and forcing the suspension of the game.
Christian Eriksen—the star of this Denmark team—collapsed to the ground with no other players around him just before half-time.
His teammates looked panicked as they urged the doctors and physios onto the pitch where they attempted to revive him with chest compressions. Players huddled together to shield Eriksen and wiped tears from their eyes.
They later kept that shield as Eriksen was carried out on a stretcher. The game against Finland in Copenhagen was suspended soon after.
A Getty photograph showed the midfielder with his eyes open as he was stretchered away. In a statement, UEFA said Eriksen had been transferred to a hospital and had stabilized.
The Danish Football Association said in a tweet that Eriksen is awake and remains stable, though he’s still awaiting further tests. UEFA officials said the match will resume at 2:30 p.m. EST.
Pat Nevin, a football commentator for BBC and a former Scottish footballer, reported that few fans left the stadium in the aftermath of Eriksen’s collapse, with most of them in shock. “They are just sitting there, not knowing what to do,” he wrote.
Fans in the stands expressed their support for Eriksen, with Finnish fans chanting ”Christian!” and Danish fans responding with “Eriksen!”
Fabrice Muamba survived after collapsing to the ground in what looked like similar circumstances during a Premier League game in 2012. As the treatment for Eriksen continued on the pitch, Muamba wrote on Twitter, “Please God.”
Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the world’s highest-paid footballers, wrote in an Instagram post that he wished Eriksen well. “The world of football stands together hoping for good news,” he wrote. “I’m counting on finding you soon back on the pitch, Chris!”
The game is part of Euro 2020, the Union of European Football Association’s quadrennial tournament. The tournament was suspended for a year due to COVID-19, with its first games only commencing Friday.
Eriksen, 29, has been a midfielder for Denmark’s national team since 2010, and also plays for Inter Milan in Italy’s Serie A. At 18, he was the youngest player during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Inter Milan sent their support for Eriksen in a tweet: “Forza Chris!”
He made 26 appearances in Serie A’s latest season, scoring three goals.