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11th Jan 2022

‘We were powerless’ – Kasper Schmeichel recalls the events of Christian Eriksen collapse

Callum Boyle

Schmeichel spoke ahead of a new documentary that airs on Tuesday night

Leicester City and Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has recalled the events of the day that Christian Eriksen collapsed during Denmark’s Euro 2020 game against Finland.

Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during the first group game in Copenhagen, with the players of the Danish national team forming a circle around their teammate to prevent the TV cameras from broadcasting the attempts to resuscitate the 29-year-old.

The keeper, who along with Denmark captain Simon Kjaer, helped to console the rest of the squad as well as the family of Eriksen and admitted that they felt “powerless” whilst they waited for news.

“We’d been looking forward to the day for so long – and it all became very irrelevant very quickly,” Schmeichel recalled.

“The way Christian went down you could see something wasn’t right.

“We were powerless. We were in the same boat as everybody else, we didn’t know more than anybody else – we just had a front row seat to it.

“The last thing we wanted was an image cast around on TV.

“I knew his family with her and sitting not far from it and we didn’t want them to see that. I couldn’t look but I had to see if he was OK.”

The players had been taken off the pitch as a result, with Schmeichel revealing that they were given the choice of either finishing the game on the day, or playing the game the day after, but in an empty stadium.

Despite their reluctance to return to the pitch, the Premier League and FA Cup winner said that a FaceTime call with Eriksen from the tunnel of the Parken Stadium helped convince them to play the game on the day.

He said: “All I know is we were told: the option is to play now, or we play tomorrow in an empty stadium at 12.

“I just wanted the game over and done with. I wanted to go and see Christian.

“Christian had woken up and myself and Simon [Kjaer] were able to FaceTime with him in the tunnel and he told us to go and play.

“You could see that we weren’t ourselves, we were shell-shocked. We lose the game 1-0. Still could have won the game but, you know, it didn’t really matter at all.”

Over six months on from the incident, Eriksen is now searching for a new club to play for after leaving Inter Milan in December following Serie A rules which prevent him from playing due to having a implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) device fitted.

But Schmeichel added that he can now look back and smile with relief after the work of the medical staff on the day.

“I can now sit here and smile and say what an incredible job the medics did,” he says.

“Our doctors for Denmark are just absolute heroes.

“To do what they did, under that pressure, with the whole world watching, it’s quite possibly the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.”

The documentary ‘Against the odds – Kasper Schmeichel’ can be seen on ITV 4, in partnership with Coral, on Tuesday (January 11) night at 22:00.