Denmark's Eriksen glad for 'very different' Euros experience

AFP , Monday 17 Jun 2024

Christian Eriksen said he had nothing other than football on his mind after scoring in Denmark's 1-1 draw with Slovenia at Euro 2024 almost three years to the day since he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Different story : Christian Eriksen celebrates scoring for Denmark against Slovenia (AFP)

Eriksen put Denmark ahead in the first half of their Group C opener in Stuttgart on Sunday as the Manchester United midfielder scored his first European Championship goal at his third tournament.

He featured at Euro 2012 and again at the Covid-delayed 2020 edition, where he collapsed during Denmark's opening 1-0 loss to Finland and was resuscitated on the pitch with the aid of a defibrillator.

Eriksen, now 32, has said that fateful day in Copenhagen is one on which he no longer dwells too much.

"I do think this time my story at the Euros is very different from the last one," he said.

"Luckily it's been a lot of games since the last time and since it happened. I felt confident in playing again, so in that sense I was just happy to be back playing."

Eriksen, who made his international debut as a teenager just ahead of featuring at the 2010 World Cup, is playing at his sixth major tournament overall.

"I did have it in mind I hadn't scored at the Euros, but nothing else than football was on my mind. In the end it would've been a different story if we'd got the three points, we'd have been much happier."

Denmark next face England, the team who knocked them out in the semi-finals at Wembley after extra time at the last Euros following Eriksen's collapse.

"It's a wake-up call for us," Eriksen said of the draw with Slovenia. The Danes play Serbia in their final group game on June 25.

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said his faith in Eriksen had never wavered.

"I've never had my doubts with Christian as a football player," he said.

"You cannot hold down that kind of class. He's a natural player who knows the rhythm of the game. He knows how to play.

"For me he's a great player and showed it today."

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