The European Championship game between Denmark and Finland was briefly suspended on Saturday after midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field due to a medical emergency. The Danish player was given treatment for about 10 minutes after collapsing on the field before being carried off on a stretcher. Later updates indicate that he is now awake and stable.
Eriksen had just played a short pass when he fell face-forward onto the ground. His teammates immediately gestured for help and medics rushed onto the field. Eriksen was given chest compressions as his teammates stood around him in a shielding wall for privacy.
The Finland players huddled by their bench and eventually walked off the field while Eriksen was still getting treatment, as did the referees. Eriksen was eventually carried off to a loud ovation, with his teammates walking next to the stretcher.
While it remains unclear as to what exactly caused Eriksen's collapse, reports quoting medical professionals contend that he might never play football again. An Express article quoted cardiologists to say that the authorities were likely to be very strict about letting him play again, at least in the UK.
For many fans, the first sigh of relief came after photos of the incident surfaced online, indicating that the player had been conscious as he was taken off the field. Irrespective of which team they were supporting, spectators at the stadium could be heard chanting his name as the players left the pitch. Reportedly, while Finnish fans shouted “Christian”, Danish fans shouted “Eriksen”.
Some 90 minutes after the incident, the game resumed, with Joel Pohjanpalo scoring and Lukas Hradecky saving a penalty to give Finland a 1-0 victory over Denmark.
"Following the request made by players of both teams, UEFA has agreed to restart the match between Denmark and Finland tonight at 20:30 CET (TBC). The last five minutes of the first half will be played, there will then be a 5-minute half-time break followed by the second half," a tweet from the UEFA had explained.
Later, Romelu Lukaku delivered a heartfelt message to the Danish player after scoring the first of his two goals in Belgium's 3-0 win over Russia. After swivelling to shoot into the bottom corner in the 10th minute, Lukaku headed to a television camera and grabbed it with both hands, saying, "Chris, Chris, I love you."
"Moments like this put everything in life into perspective. I wish Christian a full and speedy recovery and pray his family has strength and faith. At these times, the unity of the football family is so strong and he and his family carry with them the good wishes and prayers of everyone. I heard of fans of both teams chanting his name. Football is beautiful and Christian plays it beautifully," said UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin.
Since then, messages wishing Eriksen well have also flooded social media platforms, turning the incident into a top trend. Countless players and clubs as well as ordinary netizens took to Twitter wishing him a speedy recovery.
Take a look at some of the posts:
(With inputs from agencies)