There was an outpouring of support for Danish players on social media after they formed a protective ring around midfielder Christian Eriksen after he collapsed during the country’s Euro 2020 opener.
Shortly before half-time at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, the former Tottenham playmaker suddenly dropped to the ground as he ran back from the Finland penalty area, leaving players from both teams in clear distress.
English referee Anthony Taylor immediately called medics on to the pitch and Eriksen underwent prolonged treatment, with compressions performed on the chest of the 29-year-old Inter Milan player before he was taken to hospital for further treatment, where his condition was said to have stabilised.
UEFA confirmed players from both sides requested the Group B fixture be finished on Saturday evening, which restarted at 8:30pm local time (7:30pmBST).
After both sets of teams were applauded back on to the pitch, the remaining five minutes of the first half were played out at a low tempo ahead of a short half-time break.
Finland went on to win the match 1-0 with a goal from Joel Pohjanpalo in the 58th minute as Denmark later saw a penalty from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg saved.
Denmark boss Hjulmand was in tears at the post-match press conference, reflecting on the most traumatic of experiences for all involved.
“It was a really tough evening, one on which we’ve all been reminded what the most important things in life are. It’s meaningful relationships. It’s those people who are close to us. It’s family and friends,” Hjulmand said.
“All thoughts are with Christian and his family. Christian is one of the best footballers, but he is an even better person.
“It was more unmanageable to have to restart tomorrow. It was more unmanageable than going back out now and getting it all put behind us.”
On social media there was an outpouring of support for the Danish team.
Ash Sarkar wrote that it would be the “defining image of the tournament”, adding that the humanity of the moment “completely transcends he sport”.
This will be the defining image of the tournament: a group of young guys rallying around their friend and teammate, doing the right thing to preserve his dignity despite their own shock and devastation.— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) June 12, 2021
The humanity of this moment completely transcends the sport. pic.twitter.com/I6HLwcwHXg
Piers Morgan added that Denmark’s captain Simon Kjær ensured Eriksen didn’t swallow his tongue when unconscious and gave him CPR.
Commenting on the post another observer pointed out that the two pieces of cloth used to shield him were actually Finland flags given by fans in the stand, adding:
“More than just a game”.
The two pieces of clothes that were being used to give privacy to Eriksen while he was being stretchered off were actually Flags of Finland given by fans from the stands.— human (@ExploringTwi) June 12, 2021
More than just a game❤️ pic.twitter.com/bl5s5Uobru