Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand has confessed that it was wrong to resume Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Finland after midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch.
Eriksen required CPR and defibrillation to restart his heart after he collapsed on the pitch, but his condition was quickly stabilised and he recently spoke out to express his thanks for all the support directed his way.
The incident made for traumatic viewing on TV but will have been even worse for the players, who chose to resume the game after speaking to their hospitalised teammate instead of restarting the whole thing 24 hours later, and while Hjulmand was initially proud of his players for the decision, he has since admitted the squad should not have been put in that position.
“It’s very difficult, I know it’s very difficult but, looking back, I think it was a wrong thing – to make the decision between the two scenarios to the players – in this case,” said Hjulmand (via The Times).
“Maybe we should just have gone on the bus and went home and then let’s see what the next days would have would have brought. But that’s just my feeling now.
“I think it was a very, very tough decision – a tough message that the players had to try to make a decision. So, I know it’s difficult but I have a sense that it was wrong that the players were given this situation.”
UEFA have faced immense criticism for a perceived lack of compassion towards the Denmark players, with many believing they should not have been put under pressure to play the fixture so quickly after such a traumatic moment.
“They were given a choice that is not a choice,” said former Danish international Michael Laudrup. “UEFA should have just said, ‘Of course we will not play tonight.”
Hjulmand has stressed that Denmark will do their best to establish normality over the coming days, but even though Eriksen looks to be doing well in hospital, he admitted that it will be hard for the players to forget what they went through on Saturday.
“It’s very different player-to-player, what they experienced first-hand,” the head coach said. “The look on Christian’s face, his eyes, the expression in his face, the whole experience with him and his wife.
“I think the most important thing today was the conversation with Christian, but up until that it’s very, very hard to move on.
“Everyone needs to think about the pictures they have in their head. They will be given the time needed. For some it will take longer but all of them have something to think about and deal with. We will try to help the best we can. It is not something you shake off like this and move on. There is something to be dealt with.”