UEFA Euro 2020

Kasper Hjulmand 'proud' of courageous Denmark players

Toby Cudworth
It was understandably an extremely difficult night for Hjulmand and his Denmark players
It was understandably an extremely difficult night for Hjulmand and his Denmark players / Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
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Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand admitted his players had been reminded of "what the most important thing in life is" after Christian Eriksen's collapse during the first half of their Euro 2020 opener against Finland.

The Danish playmaker fell to the ground towards the end of the first half, with no other players around him at the time. It was soon apparent that Eriksen was in need of urgent medical assistance, and medical personnel subsequently administered CPR on the field in front of distraught teammates, supporters and viewers at home.

Thankfully, Eriksen responded to treatment, and is now awake and undergoing further tests in a Copenhagen hospital. The last thing on anybody's mind was continuing the game, but extraordinarily the game resumed - having been postponed for almost three hours - after news of his improved condition filtered through.

Denmark would go on to lose the game 1-0 - thanks to Joel Pohjanpalo's second half header - but the result paled into insignificance for Hjulmand, who spoke of his pride for his players for how they coped with an extremely upsetting situation.

"First of all, if it gets emotional, it's been a tough night. We are all reminded of what the most important thing in life is - to have valuable relationships, people we're close to, our family and our friends," Hjulmand said, quoted by BBC Sport.

Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen is receiving further treatment in a Copenhagen hospital / Friedemann Vogel - Pool/Getty Images

"We have a group of players that I cannot praise enough. I couldn't be prouder of those people who took such good care of each other. He is one of my very dear friends, the way the players talked in the dressing room to decide to not do anything before we knew Christian was conscious and OK."

Hjulmand also confirmed the options Denmark had been given in regards to continuing the game, before adding that his players were emotionally drained by the final whistle.

"We had two options to play the game [today] or tomorrow at 12pm and everyone agreed to play today," he added. "You can't play a game with such feelings. We tried to win. It was incredible they managed to go out and try to play the second half.

“Honestly, there were players out there that were completely done. Emotionally done and emotionally exhausted."

Kasper Hjulmand
Hjulmand was full of praise for how is Denmark players conducted themselves in unbelievably difficult circumstances / Wolfgang Rattay - Pool/Getty Images

It was also, understandably, an emotional night for Finland manager Markku Kanerva, who oversaw a first ever win for Finland in major European competition. Though such a result would usually bring unbridled joy, there were no such sentiments from Kanerva.

"It was a very emotional night for us," he admitted. "First time in a major tournament and an opening game against Denmark in their home stadium. When we heard the national anthems, it was very emotional for us.

"And then what happened with Christian Eriksen - a very dramatic and sad incident. And then finally, we get a good result from the game. Of course I am happy for that. Unbelievable. We are going to remember this for a long time for different reasons."

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