Peter Schmeichel has claimed Denmark players did not want to finish their Euro 2020 opening game against Finland after watching teammate Christian Eriksen collapse on the pitch and receive life-saving treatment.
It has been confirmed Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during the match on Saturday, with Denmark’s team doctor Morten Boesen admitting he thought the Inter Milan midfielder ‘was gone’ before being resuscitated.
Boesen has said Eriksen is now stable in hospital in Copenhagen, with his agent relaying a statement to the Italian press as the player thanked everyone involved in his treatment and insisted he now ‘wants to understand what happened’.
The match was halted following the incident and it was widely expected it would be called off after the upsetting scenes.
However, UEFA and the Danish Football Union soon confirm the game would be restarted and completed later that night, a matter of hours after Eriksen’s collapse – which led to strong criticism over the decision.
The DFU said at the time the players had agreed to complete the match ‘for Christian’ after speaking with the midfielder in a video call from his hospital bed.
But Manchester United and Denmark legend Schmeichel, father of No.1 goalkeeper Kasper, told Monday’s Good Morning Britain that he did not think the players had a choice.
When asked if it was the players’ decision for the game to be restarted after Eriksen had been taken to hospital, Schmeichel said: “Well that’s an interesting debate.
“I actually saw an official quote from UEFA yesterday saying that they were following the advice of the player, the players insisted on playing – I know that not to be the truth.
“Or, it’s how you see the truth. They were left with three options, one was to play immediately and get the last 50 minutes played.
“The next one was to come in yesterday at 12 noon and finish the 50 minutes and the third option was to forfeit the game, 3-0.
“So work it out for yourself. Is it the players’ wish to play? Did they have any choice, really? I don’t think they had.
“As you can hear from yesterday’s press conference, the coach, he seriously regrets putting the players back on to the pitch.”
Eriksen’s teammates formed a shield around him while he was being treated on the pitch and Schmeichel is concerned how the incident will impact Denmark’s players – his son included.
“It’s very difficult to say exactly what the longer-term impact will be [for the players] from that experience,” he said.
“I know having spoken to Kasper it was very traumatic for everyone.
“It’s a very dramatic scene when someone has to be defibrillated and shocked back to life.”
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