Doha, Qatar – It was standing-room-only in the media tent DenmarkThe basis of The staff predicted this influx of interest in the player hired to interview, and when christian ericsson Slipped in quietly, appeared on the top table, silence fell in the room.
those present wanted to hear about the man whose heart stopped for five minutes on the pitch The last major men’s international tournament, during Euro 2020, was played in 2021 due to the pandemic. they were willing understand their journey, one that brought him from receiving CPR on the pitch in Copenhagen to starring for Manchester United and now, only 18 months later, leading another Danish charge to great honors here in Qatar. And doing it again as his best player.
“From the first interview I did, [reaching the World Cup] That was my first goal from day one, when I knew about the possibility of being able to come back,” Ericsson said.
“Christian is very humble and a lot of people look up to him,” says Morten Vieghorst, Denmark’s assistant coach. Many people took inspiration from the way he made a comeback.
You seem to have finished talking about what happened on June 12, 2021 at Parkon Stadium. He calls it an “accident” when asked, but his focus is only getting back to Denmark in red. And according to those close to him, he is better than ever.
It seems like everyone involved with football or Denmark has their own stories and memories of where they were at the time of Eriksen’s downfall. But few are talking about it, either willing to focus on the future, or reluctant to remember the moment, because it’s too raw.
Eriksen spoke to the media in Qatar on Saturday, four days before the opening match against Denmark Tunisia, Their training camp is located in the west of Doha at the Al-Sailiyah Sports Club, situated amidst vast construction projects spread across a barren landscape. The highways are barely finished, with some being little more than exhaust debris.
As Denmark trains behind metal fences and temporary billboards intended to block public view, the only supporter outside waits outside to catch a glimpse of their heroes. Victor, who has come this far from Vejle in Denmark, is looking forward to seeing his hero, Thomas DelaneyBut as soon as he starts talking about Ericsson and remembering that day, he gets goosebumps.
Denmark playing on 12 June Finland In his opening match of the Euro. It was Day 2 of the tournament, and some were looking for Denmark to make a deep run. He started well against Finland, picked up the pace in front of a packed crowd in Copenhagen, and then, “crashed”.
Eriksson fell in the 43rd minute. The match was stopped. His breath had stopped. His comrades had formed a protective circle around him. “I work at a zoo, and we’re all taught first aid. So you could see right away it was serious,” Victor said, recalling the incident. “Initially, nobody saw what happened, because he just fell. And then when they cut him off and the players were around him, you could see the medics were giving him CPR and we were like, s— — , he’s dead.
“People asked me to explain what was happening, and I had to tell them that when you give CPR to a person, it means they’re dead, that’s a fact. Then, fortunately, They resurrected him. It seemed like forever we waited for news.”
Earlier on Saturday, another fan, Jorn, reminisced over his morning coffee in the Souq Waqf. He watched the Euros from his home in Arizona due to COVID-19 restrictions, but made it to Qatar for the World Cup. “My friends were at the game but couldn’t watch as much as I could because they didn’t show it on the big screen — and with good reason,” he says. “But on TV they zoomed in and I was like, Crap, that doesn’t look good. It was scary stuff.”
About an hour later, after the match had stopped, the Danish FA announced that Eriksen’s condition had stabilised. He remained in the hospital as his teammates were playing, and was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) device. After this the process of recovery started.
At that stage, football had gone from his mind: Ericsson reportedly told the paramedics in the ambulance to keep his boots on, as he would never need them again. But as soon as more tests were done, Ericsson was given the green light to return to training. He trained with his old youth side, Odense Boldklub, in early December 2021, but his career prospects were uncertain. He was officially still an Inter Milan player, but Serie A regulations prevented him from continuing to play in the league due to an ICD in his chest. The club confirmed his departure by mutual consent on 17 December.
At the start of the January transfer window, he ajax youth team, the club he joined in 2008 and played until 2013, when he joined Tottenham. During that time, Eriksen sat for his first interview about what happened and mentioned that he wanted to return to the Denmark team and play in the World Cup. He needed time to play to do that, and on the last day of the window, Brentford offered him a six-month deal, and it quickly became clear that Ericsson was as good a player as he had been before the accident. Some thought he was even better. “He was very polite and calm,” a source told ESPN. “He was not a fierce competitor, but just very measured and incredibly gifted.”
Brentford also have a close relationship with the CRY charity (Cardiac Risk in the Young), an understanding reached after the club’s former technical director Robert Rowan died in November 2018 aged 28 from a cardiomyopathy episode. “Once he heard about Rowan, he [Eriksen] They volunteered to support it on one of the screening days,” says the source.
Eriksen made his Premier League return for Brentford on 26 February and on 26 March he returned in their match against Denmark. Netherlands, He needed only two minutes to score, curling a beautiful, arched shot into the first Andreas Skov Olsen‘cross. He later hit the post. “You have to be careful what you say, but he was almost better than before,” said the Denmark defender. jannik westergaard it is said.
Denmark fan Viktor remembers the feeling of seeing Eriksen in the red shirt again. “It was an amazing moment,” he says. “We knew he was fine and things like that, but we were worried about it, and to see what happened, and whether it could happen again and things like that. It’s really very Was weird, but watching him again, it’s amazing. Every time you see him, it’s in your head and you think it can’t be true — he’s playing at his best level ever. “
The sentiment of “this can’t be true” resonates through his team as well. “He’s a quality player, and in my view, he’s come back better than he was before the accident, and it’s great to see,” says Wighorst. “He brings vision, technical quality and goals to our team: he is vital to our team, a fantastic player.
“It’s great to have him back, his team-mates love him and he’s such an important character. He’s inspirational to a lot of fans at home, and to people who don’t necessarily follow football, he He has been a huge inspiration, and that says a lot about his character, his strength and his love of football.”
Whenever Eriksson talks about what happened that day in Copenhagen, he puts thoughts of his family first. “I think the World Cup is different. [What happened] Gave me an appreciation for being alive and being with my family,” he says. “Everything else got pushed to the side. My football has been my career, still is. So the goal of the possibility of getting back to what I was before… was the other goal. My first objective was to be a husband, a lover and a father.”
Now he is back in his third World Cup. His first came back in 2010 as an 18-year-old Ajax prodigy, his second in 2018 as a world-class Tottenham midfielder. He views his third, briefly, as “special”, but it completes a circle for him. In fact, Eriksen feels there is a huge belief in the Danish team after their run to the Euros semi-finals two summers ago.
James Ole’s report came after a joint statement from England, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland confirmed their players would not wear the Vanlove armband.
Then the question comes, is it better than before?
“First of all, I think conditionally, it hasn’t changed,” says Erickson. “Before the accident, I ran a lot: I probably run even less now than I used to. I’m pretty sure I’m the same guy I was on the football pitch before. I think it’s more that people run differently Looking from the perspective of what happened. People are looking at how I play on the pitch with different eyes.”
Here are their spirits: daily blind, his former Ajax teammate, also has an ICD fitted. “I’m in regular contact with him,” Blind tells ESPN. “We already talked about how special it is that we are both here on the pitch! Especially it is for Christian. I am very proud of him!”
Ericsson’s last words to Blind before the tournament were to wish him well. “I said, see you in the finals!”
Danish fans will be keeping a close eye on their hero, hoping he can inspire them to their first major tournament win since 1992. “Their presence alone is so important,” says Jorn. “It’s not that he’s a [Diego] Maradona, but he has some clout on that team. He is not the boisterous type of person, which is why we like him. We never see them in scandalous type magazines: I think the people of Denmark appreciate that.
“Most people in Denmark still have very high hopes for him to advance. If he succeeds and they reach the quarter-finals… he will surely be the King of Denmark!”
Back in the media tent, Ericsson spoke for about 20 minutes, alternating between Danish and English, answering questions on everything Cristiano RonaldoEriksen’s exit from Inter Milan and the standard of FranceIn addition to his travels in the midfield, and his being here at the World Cup. But now he has spoken. The focus is on soccer’s biggest stage, helping his country progress to another major tournament.
The journey to Denmark begins on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. They look forward to facing Tunisia first, before another clash with old foes France four days later (beating them in their last two fixtures) and then tackling Australia in their group finale.
“We’re dreaming big, but eventually we have to get there,” says Erickson. “In terms of football, we have to take it one game at a time, and we’ll see where we end up.
“To be at the World Cup for the national team is very special. It is something I am very happy to be a part of again.”