After Christian Eriksen collapsed onto the pitch during the EURO 2020 Group B game between Finland and Denmark, both countries' fans and players came together to display perfect sportsmanship. As panic ensued throughout the stadium and no one knew what was happening, the moment quickly became bigger than football.
Both teams immediately shifted their focus from the fierce competition to joining together to make sure Eriksen was safe. Football will always have its rivalries and competition, but in the face of adversity the community bands together.
Instantly, Denmark made a human shield around their downed player to block out the media from the severe situation and give their teammate some privacy while he fought for his life. Their faces reflect just how bleak the situation was as they fenced off their teammate.
Highest respect for Denmark's players who demanded immediate medical help and formed a protective circle to shield Eriksen from the cameras. #Euro2021 pic.twitter.com/urqtyfJkTp— Benjamin Alvarez (@BenjAlvarez1) June 12, 2021
Finland then showed impeccable humility as they provided more protection and privacy as the medics carted Christian off the field. Finnish fans threw flags onto the pitch in order to help cover up the stretcher as it left. Truly a moment of pure class that you don’t see every day, proving humanity is still out there.
Prayers for Christian EriksenFinland fans gave their flags after Christian Eriksen collapsed during the match
Wishing him speedy recovery. pic.twitter.com/LZ3hSn4Gka
— Nigel D'Souza (@Nigel__DSouza) June 12, 2021
After he was taken to the hospital and the future remained unclear, a beautiful moment of solidarity materialized between both sets of fans. Two nations joined together as they chanted Eriksen’s name, filling the stadium with love and hope for a quick recovery. Finland fans were heard shouting “Christian” as the Danish crowd answered back with “Eriksen”. The whole moment revealed just how great the game of football can really be.
Finland and Denmark fans came together to chant Christian Eriksen's name in support pic.twitter.com/AVgkOzceYP— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 12, 2021
Even as the game continued on around two hours later, the respect between teams held. Finland scored their very first major tournament goal, which would eventually propel the underdogs to victory. Any other day, this goal would have been one of the most celebrated ones in Finland’s history, but the team held their celebrations in check with respect to Eriksen. In one of the most exciting moments for a country, they controlled their emotions and festivities in recognition that even the game-clinching goal wasn't as important as displaying sportsmanship.
Finland scores the first goal after the restart.Goalscorer Joel Pohjanpalo refused to celebrate. pic.twitter.com/TuMLGnr4es
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 12, 2021
After the match, players from around the world paid their respects to the Danish midfielder through positive messages. Current Inter Milan teammate Romelu Lukaku sent a heartfelt message through a sideline camera after scoring a goal in a match later on that day, yelling "Chris, I love you" and sealing it with a kiss on the camera screen. Numerous players took to social media to send him support with Harry Kane tweeting and Christiano Ronaldo posting on Instagram.
Sending all my love to you @ChrisEriksen8. https://t.co/xdQ0v2kyCR— Harry Kane (@HKane) June 13, 2021
As competitive and fierce as the sport usually is, the whole community will come together when it's time to unite around something. That is why the sport of football and the community around it will always reign supreme.