Eriksen’s surprise visit gave ‘good energy’ to Denmark team

Sports

FILE – In this file photo dated Saturday, June 12, 2021, Denmark’s Christian Eriksen controls the ball during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match against Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark. Christian Eriksen has been discharged from the hospital nearly a week after collapsing on the field during a Euro 2020 soccer match, according to a statement from Danish soccer federation Friday June 18, 2021. (Wolfgang Rattay/Pool via AP)

COPENHAGEN (AP) — Christian Eriksen surprised the Denmark team with a visit in the middle of a training session and then gave them all a hug, his teammates said Saturday.

Eriksen was discharged from a Copenhagen hospital on Friday and immediately went to see his teammates at their European Championship base camp outside the capital.

Midfielder Christian Norgaard and defender Joakim Maehle said it came as a big surprise.

“I didn’t know he was coming, so we stopped the training session when he arrived,” Norgaard said. “He seemed to be in good spirits, and it gave a good energy to the team. We were allowed to give him a hug, and it was great to see him walk around with his son. It was a good day in many ways. It was what we needed.”

The 29-year-old Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest during Denmark’s first Euro 2020 game against Finland last Saturday and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator. His teammates formed a protective wall around him as he was getting treatment to shield him from public view.

He was discharged from the hospital after being fitted with an implantable heart monitoring device that is meant to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Maehle said Eriksen was accompanied by his partner and two young children during his visit. The Inter Milan midfielder had lunch with the team before going home to spend time with his family.

“It was emotional because the last time we saw him he was lying there on the field being saved,” Maehle said. “We knew that Christian was OK but it’s completely different to see him in real life.”

Denmark lost to Finland and Belgium in its first two games at Euro 2020 but still has a chance to advance from Group B with a win over Russia on Monday at Parken Stadium.

Forward Andreas Skov Olsen said Eriksen’s visit will help the team focus fully on the Russia game.

“It was so nice to see him standing right in front of you,” Skov Olsen said. “It’s important for us to know Christian is OK so we can concentrate on the rest of the tournament.”

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