On June 12, 2021 at Parken in Copenhagen in Denmark-Finland at the European Championship his heart stopped: today he plays with a subcutaneous defibrillator. Kasper Hjulmand, the Danish coach, says: “Christian is our heart, our heartbeat”

    From our correspondent Fabio Licari

    November 21st
    – DOHA (QATAR)

    Eyes wide open and staring into space, the body motionless, the companions around with a lost, terrified gaze. The stadium suddenly silent. Only Simon has the courage to act immediately, run towards his friend, protect him while the referee calls the doctors urgently and then embrace his wife who ran into tears on the pitch. We all wanted to be strong and noble like Simon at the time. It’s June 12, 2021 at Parken in Copenhagen, Denmark and Finland are 0-0 in their first match of the European Championship. In the 43rd minute Christian Eriksen falls like a dead man on the pitch, face down, and it’s not a slip, an awkward fall, a trip. His heart stopped. “He was gone,” confessed later one of the Danish doctors who saved him with heart massage and defibrillator. While Simon Kjaer shields him with his teammates, Eriksen clings desperately to life. Today, seventeen months later, five hundred and twenty-eight days later, he is here in Doha with Denmark for his fourth debut in a World Cup, the most beautiful.

    The rest comes later

    Denmark-Tunisia is not a simple match, it is the match of the return to life. “Since the day I said I wanted to get back on the pitch, playing the World Cup has always been my real goal,” said Eriksen, who in addition to a shirt and shorts “wears” a subcutaneous defibrillator that doesn’t allow him to play in Italy but in England yes, in United. “I am grateful to be here. It’s very special. Everything else is extra. That’s my slogan now,” adds Eriksen, 30 and 117 capped for Denmark. Kasper Hjulmand, the coach, is not rhetorical, simply excited: “Christian is our heart, our heartbeat. He’s a fantastic player and an even better person.” And Kjaer, the friend to whom he perhaps owes his life: “We all adore him, he is an inspiration for everyone. There isn’t a day when you don’t think about that moment”.

    Immediately in goal

    On 31 January, after his contract with Inter was cancelled, Eriksen signed for Brentford. On 26 February he returned to the field as a substitute for Jensen against Newcastle. In March he’s back with the national team, friendly in the Netherlands. The first half ends 3-1 for the oranjes. Eriksen replaced Lindstroem at half-time and scored as soon as he was on the pitch. Immediately. In goal after less than one hundred and twenty seconds. As if fate wanted to repay. Eight appearances and three goals since then for Denmark, two successes in the Nations League against France. “Now we are dreaming big. There is even more confidence than when I came back”.

    Tunisia force 4

    Naturally ask Tunisia if it agrees. Jalel Kadri’s national team is one of the indecipherable of this World Cup: considered the least strong of the Africans, it comes from four successes in the last five games. She lost to Brazil but placed Chile and two finalists like Iran and Japan below. “If I don’t qualify for the round of 16, I’ll resign,” he said some time ago. It won’t be easy to keep your word in a group with France and Denmark, plus the also enigmatic Australia. Hjulmand has only one doubt: Skov Olsen, ex Bologna, or Dolberg. In the first case it would be 3-4-2-1, in the second Eriksen would be the only attacking midfielder. Tunisia expected with the 4-3-3 of the latest outings.