Christian Eriksen: Denmark and Belgium fans and players pay 10th minute tribute to midfielder during Euro 2020 clash

Credit: AP

Players and supporters paid tribute to Denmark footballer Christian Eriksen after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during his side's Euro 2020 opener against Finland on Saturday.

The ball was kicked out of play 10 minutes into the match between Belgium and Denmark and the game halted for a minute as all present in the ground, including the players and match officials, applauded the midfielder who plays in the number 10 shirt for his country.

The match is the first Denmark have played since the midfielder collapsed during the first half of the game and had to be resuscitated by medics who ran from the touchlines, while his teammates shielded him from the cameras.

The midfielder is to be fitted with a heart starter following his collapse.

The 29-year-old remains in hospital but told fans he was doing "fine - under the circumstances" as investigations continued into the cause.


What is a heart starter?

There are different types of cardiac devices that help monitor irregular heartbeats, or even control them to avoid problems - it's not certain which Eriksen will have.

Pacemaker - A pacemaker is a small electrical device that's implanted in the chest or abdomen. It's used to treat some abnormal heart rhythms by sending electrical impulses to tell your heart to contract and produce a heartbeat.Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) - An ICD can deliver electrical shocks, detect the rhythm of the heart and sometimes "pace" the heart's rhythms.

It's a bit more high-tech than a pacemaker as it can deliver a series of low-voltage electrical impulses, small electric shocks, or larger electric shocks to try and restore the heart to a normal rhythm.


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Denmark's team doctor Morten Boesen said the heart starter device is "necessary after cardiac attack due to rhythm disturbances."

He added: "Christian has accepted the solution and the plan has moreover been confirmed by specialists nationally and internationally who all recommend the same treatment."

It's not yet known whether the incident will spell the end of Eriksen's football playing career.

Denmark take on Belgium on Thursday night, in their first game since Eriksen's collapse.

In a tribute to the player, who wears the No.10 shirt, Belgium's players have said they will kick the ball out of play in the tenth minute and both teams will pause play.

"We will kick the ball out for a throw-in to stop and applaud and mark this moment," Belgium's Romelu Lukaku said.

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said he expects Eriksen to be able to hear the tribute from his hospital bed, and that the midfielder will probably be watching on TV.

"I think he’ll be in his (Denmark) shirt and watch the game," Hjulmand said.

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen is recovering after medics saved his life when he suffered a cardiac arrest. Credit: PA

Google searches for 'how to do CPR' surged 45 fold at 6pm on Saturday after the player's collapse.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) saw more than a 90% increase in traffic compared to the previous weekend, while St John Ambulance saw a 1,000% increase in calls asking for CPR.

The soaring interest has prompted England's national medical director to launch "Eriksen's army" of volunteers, trained in CPR, recognising cardiac arrest and how to use a defibrillator.

Professor Stephen Powis will tell the NHS Confederation Conference later on Thursday it is “clear” that Eriksen’s life was saved by the “urgent medical attention on the pitch”.

“Since Eriksen’s collapse at the weekend, we have also seen kind-hearted Brits sharing information online on how to do CPR and save a life,” Prof Powis said.

“Today, I’m calling on them to go one step further and train to teach CPR as we know this will mean more lives like Christian Eriksen’s will be saved.”

NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis and St John Ambulance have launched a campaign to provide CPR lessons. Credit: PA

According to the NHS, only one in three people in England currently gives CPR when responding to someone going into cardiac arrest.

Prof Powis said with proper training the number of lives saved could double.

He added: “If more people had the confidence and skills to call 999 quickly, deliver effective CPR until the ambulance crew arrive, and use a public access defibrillator, the number of lives saved would double.

“We saw a massive rush in willing volunteers to help life-saving activity during the pandemic and we hope that even more people will be inspired to join our Eriksen’s Army, learn CPR and become life-savers.”

Eriksen in action early in the match Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Pool/AP

The incident draws parallels with former Arsenal star Fabrice Muamba, who was given similar treatment during an FA Cup match in London in 2012.

Muamba’s heart stopped beating for 78 minutes after the Bolton Wanderers midfielder collapsed on the pitch during an FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham Hotspur in March 2012.

Speaking to ITV News after Eriksen's collapse, Muamba said: "Like any football fan, you're in shock, you actually can't believe it.


'It was a horrible, horrible feeling,' Muamba describes how he felt as he watched Eriksen's collapse


"It's actually happening to a professional player, I'm in disbelief to be honest, how everything unfolded in front of people's faces," he said.

"I was watching the game and I was like, 'come on, come on, come on Christian'."

He added: "This is not what we want this to end like, you know, but it was a horrible, a horrible feeling put it that way."

Describing what it was like for him during the incident, he said: "Those are the emotions that I've buried, that I bury inside me...and to actually see it happen again, it was not great."