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Christian Eriksen puts the ghost of Euro 2020 to rest with a goal for Denmark against Slovenia

Christian Eriksen kicked off his Euro 2024 campaign by scoring Denmark’s first goal of the tournament on Sunday evening, three years after suffering a life-threatening cardiac arrest in his final European Championship match.

The midfielder collapsed on the field during his country’s Euro 2020 opener against Finland at home in Copenhagen. Teammate Simon Kjaer helped save Eriksen’s life by putting him in a resuscitation position, while emergency medical services arrived and started breathing and cardiac arrest.

Thankfully, that intervention proved decisive. Eriksen, who was taken down on a stretcher and transferred to a nearby hospital, survived the ordeal and, according to him, was ‘better under the circumstances’. A few days later, the player was fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), although it meant he could no longer represent Inter, and these devices are banned in Serie A.

Released by Inter, Eriksen resumed his career with Brentford in January 2022 and less than a year after his fall he was back in a Denmark shirt. He moved to Manchester United at the end of that season and his selection for Euro 2024 marked a sixth major international competition.

Because of this, emotions were understandably high when Eriksen walked out with his Denmark team-mates to face Slovenia in their Group C opener.

Less than 20 minutes later, Eriksen broke the deadlock with a goal of good quality. Receiving the ball from a long throw-in, Jonas Umoya deserved credit for flicking a first-time pass into Eriksen’s path as he burst into the penalty area. Eriksen put it on his chest and curled a half-volley into the bottom corner, sparking jubilant scenes in the Danish end of Stuttgart’s MHPArena.

Overall, it was a game that never got going and otherwise lacked a lot of quality in key moments. Denmark enjoyed a great football team, however they failed to test Slovenia goalkeeper Jan Oblak with most of their shots on target.

Wind’s forward Rasmus Hojlund had one of the few efforts on target but Oblak equalized when the Manchester United striker met Victor Kristiansen’s cross a few yards out. That savings later became crucial in determining the outcome.

Slovenia didn’t do much to trouble Kasper Schmeichel at the other end, however they grew into a game as time went on. Benjamin Sesko, the subject of so much transfer gossip in the build-up to the tournament, hit the far post as a warning sign for the Danes. Seconds later came the equalizer from left back Gornik Janza, from the same range on the half volley.

Given the way the game started and their level of control for over an hour, Denmark will see this as two points dropped. In Slovenia, in their first European Championship appearance in 24 years, they looked capable and will take confidence going forward.


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