Denmark advances after Christian Eriksen collapse

Denmark’s emotional Euro 2020 will last a little while longer.

After enduring a traumatic incident in its tournament opener when star midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed on the pitch, the Danes surprisingly advanced into the knockout stage Monday for the first time since 2004.

Denmark entered the day in last place in Group B with zero points, having dropped contests to Finland and Belgium, but still was mathematically alive.

Then Denmark thumped Russia, 4-1, to earn the coveted three points and vault into a tie for second place with Russia and Finland (which simultaneously lost 2-0 to Belgium). The three-goal victory gave Denmark the best goal differential among the three teams, advancing the Danes out of the group stage.

That outcome was difficult to imagine nine days prior amid the grim scenes of Eriksen’s life-threatening collapse during the match against Finland. Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen said the 29-year-old Eriksen was “gone” before being resuscitated. The game was suspended then resumed several hours later, and Eriksen’s shaken Danish teammates struggled to maintain focus during the remainder of a 1-0 loss.

Denmark's players celebrate after defeating Russia and advancing to the next round at UEFA Euro 2020.
Denmark’s players celebrate after defeating Russia.
TASS via Getty Images

“We should not have played,” Denmark’s Kasper Hjulmand said following the game. “Players have different reactions to shocks and trauma, but we’ll try to get back to normal as much as possible.

“What we tried to do was incredible. It’s incredible that the players managed to go out and try to play the second half.”

Denmark players gather as Christian Eriksen is attended to.
Denmark players gather as Christian Eriksen is attended to.
Getty Images

Eriksen’s condition improved over the course of last week, and on Friday, he was released from the hospital. In a statement, Eriksen said that he would be cheering on his team against Russia.

Certainly, his teammates did not disappoint.