Peter Schmeichel: Denmark players did not have choice with Finland restart after Christian Eriksen collapse

Peter Schmeichel, father of Leicester and Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, says the side had no choice but to restart the game; Kasper also criticised UEFA, saying any decision should not have been rushed

Kasper Schmeichel and the rest of the Denmark side returned to finish their Euro 2020 game against Finland despite team-mate Christian Eriksen collapsing 1:14
Peter Schmeichel's son Kasper has criticised UEFA, saying any decision on a restart for their Euro 2020 game against Finland after Christian Eriksen collapsed should not have been rushed

UEFA has "categorically" denied that Denmark were threatened with a forfeit if they had refused to resume their Euro 2020 match against Finland in the hours following Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest.

Former Denmark goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, who is also the father of the nation's current number one, Kasper Schmeichel, told ITV's Good Morning Britain that the country's players did not want to resume the match but had no choice.

When asked if it was the players' decision for the game to be restarted after Eriksen had been taken to hospital, Schmeichel said: "Well that's an interesting debate.

"I actually saw an official quote from UEFA yesterday saying that they were following the advice of the player, the players insisted on playing - I know that not to be the truth.

"Or, it's how you see the truth. They were left with three options, one was to play immediately and get the last 50 minutes played.

"The next one was to come in yesterday [Sunday] at 12 noon and finish the 50 minutes and the third option was to forfeit the game, 3-0.

"So work it out for yourself. Is it the players' wish to play? Did they have any choice really? I don't think they had.

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"As you can hear from yesterday's press conference, the coach seriously regrets putting the players back onto the pitch."

Paramedics using a stretcher to take out of the pitch Denmark's Christian Eriksen after he collapsed during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, Saturday, June 12, 2021 0:41
Team doctor Morten Boesen says Christian Eriksen 'was gone' after suffering a cardiac arrest, but was able to be resuscitated after one use of the defibrillator

A UEFA spokesperson told Sky Sports News: "UEFA is sure it treated the matter with utmost respect for the sensitive situation and for the players.

"It was decided to restart the match only after the two teams requested to finish the game on the same evening. The players' need for 48 hours' rest between matches eliminated other options.

"We can categorically deny that any team was threatened with a forfeit."

Inter Milan and former Tottenham midfielder Eriksen collapsed on Saturday during the first half of Denmark's opening match and was treated on the pitch before being taken to hospital.

Denmark's team doctor Morten Boesen later confirmed Eriksen was stable having suffered a cardiac arrest and that "he was gone" prior to being resuscitated.

Eriksen's team-mates formed a shield around him while he was being treated on the pitch and Peter Schmeichel is concerned about the effects the incident has had on Denmark's players.

He added: "It's very difficult to say exactly what the longer-term impact will be (for the players) from that experience, which I know having spoken to Kasper was very traumatic for everyone.

"It's a very dramatic scene when someone has to be defibrillated and shocked back to life."

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has criticised UEFA in the aftermath of Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest
Image: Kasper Schmeichel has criticised UEFA in the aftermath of Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest

Kasper Schmeichel: UEFA restart request was in the 'heat of the moment'

Kasper Schmeichel has also criticised UEFA, saying any decision on a restart should not have been rushed and made immediately after the incident.

"I think a decision about the game should probably not have been made in the heat of the moment.

"I think it would probably have been a wise decision to maybe change the rules or the regulations in extraordinary circumstances and maybe take a breath and then reconvene the day after and make a decision on how to go forward."

preview image 0:25
Denmark and Finland fans chant Eriksen's name after the midfielder was taken to hospital, having collapsed on the pitch shortly before half-time in the Euro 2020 opening group game between the two nations

Doctor and coach: Game should not have been played

Team doctor Boesen also revealed that Denmark's players and staff were visited by a psychologist on Saturday night, and in hindsight feels the game should not have resumed.

"I don't think the right decision was to play the game," Boesen said.

"We had help from a psychological point of view at the hotel last night. Everyone expressed their feelings and how they saw the situation, and everyone was pleased we did this and talked it through.

"We really appreciated the professional help we have had from the outside."

Hjulmand agreed that the match should not have been completed after the incident, and said the squad would try to use what happened as motivation for their next game against Belgium on Thursday.

"No, we should not have played," he said. "We will try tomorrow to establish normality as much as possible. Players have different reactions to shocks and trauma but we will try to get back to normal as much as possible.

"I get the feeling from the players that maybe the time is too short to try to play football again, but maybe we can use it as a force to get together and try to go out and do our best in the next match."

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Head coach Kasper Hjulmand says his side will play the rest of Euro 2020 in honour of Eriksen, as the midfielder continues to recover in hospital

PFA: Danish team allowed Eriksen dignity he deserved

The PFA (Professional Footballers' Association) has sent its good wishes to Eriksen and his family following Saturday's events.

A statement read: "First and foremost, our thoughts are with Christian Eriksen, his partner and their family. We are so encouraged by the news of Christian's stable condition and send him our best wishes for a full recovery.

"Our gratitude goes to the referee, Anthony Taylor, and the medical team for their prompt action in enacting emergency protocol under extreme pressure, which ultimately saved Christian's life.

"Our thoughts have also been with the players of both teams, especially Denmark. Captain, Simon Kjaer and Kasper Schmeichel played pivotal roles by rushing to Eriksen's aid, assisting medical staff and coordinating the players, who did all they could despite their own distress.

"In their actions, the Danish team allowed their teammate the dignity he deserved, and their demonstration of such calm leadership commands our ultimate respect.

"The trauma the players will have experienced has been at the forefront of our minds since Saturday. Any Danish or Finnish player who is a current or former PFA member is entitled to access our wellbeing services, and we will be in touch with the players this week to offer our full support.

"The term 'football family' is used loosely at times, but on Saturday, united in our hope for Christian, that's what we all were."

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