Netherlands defender Daley Blind says he had to persuade himself to play in their 3-2 Euro 2020 win over Ukraine having been badly affected by Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest on Saturday.
The two players are close friends and former team-mates at Ajax and the incident was particularly close to home for Blind, who has a defibrillator fitted to his heart having been diagnosed with inflammation of the muscle in December 2019. During a match last year, the device went off after he collapsed during a pre-season friendly.
Blind was visibly emotional after coming off during the game on Sunday night, after a whirlwind 24 hours. Yesterday, Denmark’s team doctor Morten Boesen confirmed what had happened to Eriksen.
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"He was gone. We did a cardiac resuscitation, it was a cardiac arrest," he said.
"How close were we to losing him? I don’t know but we got him back after one defib, so that’s quite fast."
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Eriksen is stable in a Copenhagen hospital and in an update yesterday, the Danish Football Association said it had been in contact with the Inter Milan midfielder, who had also been speaking to his team-mates.
"Yesterday had a huge impact on me, never mind the fact that I know Christian well as a friend," Blind said after Sunday night's game.
The situation for him is terrible. Of course, I have also experienced a few things in that area, so that I had to overcome a mental hurdle to play today.
"I had to persuade myself to play but I’m proud that I did and that’s why my emotion came bursting out at the end of the game.
I definitely thought about not taking part. The images on television and the incident had a big impact and I didn't sleep very well because of them. I really had to overcome a big hurdle to do this.
Netherlands head coach Frank de Boer, Eriksen’s former boss at Ajax, said he had also been deeply affected by the footage from Copenhagen.
"I saw those images and I had to leave the room. I had five years with Christian," he said.
"It was a roller-coaster last night. We had a meeting but we rescheduled it for the morning as we didn’t want to talk about football.
"Daley was quite emotional. He had some problems with his own heart and one of his best friends is Christian Eriksen, so it is normal there are a lot of emotions going through us, him especially."
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