Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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Christian Erikson was in “stable” condition in a Copenhagen hospital, Denmark’s soccer federation said in a statement on Sunday, a day after he collapsed and received life-saving medical treatment on the field during a Euro 2020 match against Finland.

Eriksen had “sent his greetings to his teammates,” the statement said, but remain in the hospital for further examination.

The 29-year-old Eriksen is being treated at Rigshospitalet, which sits less than a mile away from Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, where the game was played.

Eriksen, an attacking midfielder and the creative engine of Denmark’s team, suddenly stumbled and collapsed to the turf in the 42nd minute of a game against Finland on Sunday.

Medical teams, summoned urgently by teammates and opponents who immediately sensed the severity of his condition, worked quickly to stabilize Eriksen on the grass. They continued for 20 minutes as the stunned crowd at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium and a global television audience looked on.

In an effort to protect Eriksen, his teammates and members of Denmark’s staff formed a circle around him to shield him, and the medics, as they worked. Photographs of Eriksen leaving on a stretcher showed him awake.

Credit…Pool photo by Friedemann Vogel

The match was briefly suspended but resumed about 90 minutes later — with the consent of players on both teams, and only after the Danes had received word on Eriksen’s improved condition. Finland won, 1-0.

Denmark’s coach, Kasper Hjulmand, told reporters that his team would be provided counseling and any other assistance it needs as it tries to navigate the rest of the tournament.

“We will spend the next few days processing this as best we can,” Hjulmand said.

Danish players and staff members formed a circle to shield the medics working on Christian Eriksen.
Credit…Pool photo by Friedemann Vogel

Only once the game, the last thing on their minds, had finished could Christian Eriksen’s traumatized Denmark teammates start to come to terms with the toll of what they had been through.

In the glare of the news media, Kasper Hjulmand, the coach, struggled to hold back tears. In the privacy of the locker room, his players sat and held one another. Some among their number were, Hjulmand said, “completely emotionally finished” by it all: the scene of their fallen teammate on the grass, their thoughts of what could have been, the decision to resume the match.

By that stage, they knew that their worst fears had not been realized. Earlier, the Danish squad had agreed, as they had waited inside the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, that they would not make a decision on anything until they had more details of Eriksen’s condition.

Though it did not seem so at the time, that came — thankfully — briskly. Within an hour or so of watching Eriksen collapse on the field, of rushing to his side, of shielding him from the cameras, a message came through from the city’s Rigshospitalet, not far from the stadium, that Eriksen was conscious. He was talking to his partner and to his father, his agent confirmed to Danish national radio.

UEFA, then, offered the players a choice: they could either complete their first game of Euro 2020 against Finland on Saturday night, or resume it on Sunday afternoon. They had decided, Hjulmand said, “to get it over with.

“They could not imagine not being able to sleep tonight and to have to get on a bus tomorrow and play again,” he said.

Not all of them had felt ready. Simon Kjaer, the captain and a close friend of Eriksen, had been one of the first to reach him after he slumped to the ground. He had placed him in the recovery position, to prevent him swallowing his tongue, and then arranged the rest of the squad to form a protective circle around Eriksen as the stadium’s medical team — as well as Denmark’s national team doctor, Morten Boesen — had tended to him on the field.

Credit…Wolfgang Rattay/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Many of the players had turned away, but they knew how urgent it was: Boesen confirmed that, after he had arrived, Eriksen had stopped breathing, and his heart had stopped beating. “When I got there, he was breathing and I could feel his pulse,” he said. “Suddenly that changed.”

Even once the news that his condition was stable had come through, Kjaer did not feel able to continue. He had been one of the first to comfort Sabrina Kvist Jensen, Eriksen’s partner, too. “Simon was deeply, deeply affected,” Hjulmand said. “He was in doubt whether he could continue, and gave it a shot, but it could not be done.” Denmark has said it will make counseling available to those players who feel they need it.

Though the trauma was most clearly felt by those closest to Eriksen, of course, the shock at seeing him collapse reverberated throughout the tournament. Roberto Martínez, the Belgium coach, admitted his team — scheduled to play its opening match only an hour after the Denmark game — had not wanted to “talk about football” as they waited desperately for news of a player many of his squad has called a teammate at club level. Romelu Lukaku, who dedicated the first of Belgium’s three goals against Russia to Eriksen, said he had been in tears.

Credit…Anton Vaganov/Pool, via Reuters

England’s squad, watching as it waited for its first game today, has plenty of links to Eriksen — Harry Kane, the captain, played alongside him at Tottenham — and had watched in anguish, too. In Italy, where Eriksen plays for Inter Milan, his employers had been relieved to receive a message to the squad’s WhatsApp group from Eriksen, confirming that he was awake. These are just the first steps, though. For his teammates, his friends, and more than anything else for Eriksen himself, there is a long road ahead.

Harry Kane, captain of England (today) and Spurs (for the moment).
Credit…Pool photo by Kevin Quigley

LONDON — There are a lot of things that everybody knows about Harry Kane. First and foremost, there is the fact that he is the captain of England’s national soccer team, a status that bestows upon its bearer the sort of profile unavailable to most athletes, particularly in tournament years. It is part-of-the-furniture fame, royal family fame. Everyone has heard of Harry Kane.

Then there are the goals. Harry Kane scores goals with startling efficiency. He scores goals with both feet and with his head. He scores goals from close range and from long distance, for good teams and bad. He does not really seem to be subject to things like form or confidence. He simply started scoring goals seven years ago and never stopped.

He has scored so many that he is seventh on the list of the Premier League’s career top scorers; with a fair wind, he will be third next year at this time and within touching distance of the record-holder, Alan Shearer, not long after he turns 30. What colors he will be wearing as he does so is anyone’s guess. Everyone has known for some time, of course, that Harry Kane is one of Tottenham’s own, the star of the team he supported as a child. But over the last few weeks, a string of interviews has made it clear that, in Harry Kane’s mind, that might have to change this summer.

But that is where the knowledge stops. Harry Kane is captain of England, he scores a lot of goals and he is about to star in his very own transfer saga. Beyond that, Harry Kane is something of an enigma. It is a neat trick: for a player of his status, and an athlete of his generation, to be as well known as he is and yet not well known at all.

This spring, long before he got ready to lead England against Croatia on Sunday, to attempt (again) to claim his first trophy with England, Kane sat down with Rory Smith of The Times to discuss, well, Harry Kane.

What Rory found is that there are a lot of things everyone knows about Harry Kane. But knowing who he is, or what he is like, is not one of them.

Daler Kuzyayev, left, of Russia and Timothy Castagne of Belgium left Saturday’s match in the first half after a clash of heads.
Credit…Pool photo by Anton Vaganov

Belgium Coach Roberto Martinez said Saturday that defender Timothy Castagne will miss the rest of the tournament after fracturing his right eye socket during a 3-0 victory over Russia on Saturday in St. Petersburg.

Castagne, who plays for Leicester City in England’s Premier League, was substituted in the 27th minute Saturday after a violent head-to-head collision with Russia midfielder Daler Kuzyaev. Kuzyaev left the game three minutes later. The players collided while challenging for the ball.

The injury sounded eerily similar to the one that kept Belgium’s midfield playmaker Kevin De Bruyne out of the Russia game. De Bruyne has been training alone after having an operation to repair a fractured nose and eye socket sustained in a collision with an opponent in the Champions League final last month.

De Bruyne was left out of the Russia game but Martinez said last week that he expected him to return to full training before Belgium’s second game.

Martinez said an ankle injury sustained by the veteran defender Jan Vertonghen against Russia was less serious, a contention backed up by the player himself.

“I caught my studs in the pitch,” Vertonghen said after the match. “I’ve got a history of ankle injuries, so that’s why I always tape my ankles well. It’s going to be fine.”



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