‘Ridiculous’: Peter Schmeichel criticises Uefa over restarting Denmark game

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/AP</span>
Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/AP

Uefa has been criticised for only offering Denmark a choice of restarting their game against Finland on Saturday night or at noon on Sunday.

The Euro 2020 game at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen was suspended after Christian Eriksen fell to the ground towards the end of the first half. The Internazionale midfielder was given treatment on the pitch before being transferred to the nearby Rigshospitalet. The Danish football association, the DBU, later tweeted that he was “awake”.

Related: Christian Eriksen sends greetings to Denmark teammates from hospital

At first it was thought the game had been postponed but it was announced after a discussion involving both sets of players that it would restart. Denmark’s squad had received a message from Eriksen and decided to play.

Their coach, Kasper Hjulmand, said after the 1-0 defeat: “We knew we had two options. The players couldn’t imagine not being able to sleep tonight and then having to get on the bus and come in again tomorrow. Honestly, it was best to get it over with.”

Hjulmand said “there was no pressure from Uefa to play” on Saturday night but during Sunday’s press conference, having had time to reflect, he said: “No, we should not have played. We will try tomorrow to establish normality as much as possible.”

The team doctor, Morten Boesen, echoed Hjulmand’s thoughts when he said: “I don’t think the right decision was to play the game. We have had help from a psychological point of view at the hotel last night. Everyone expressed their feelings and how they saw the situation, and everyone was pleased we talked it through.”

The fact the players had the option only of playing on the night or early the following day has drawn widespread criticism in Denmark. The former international Michael Laudrup told TV3+: “You have to make a decision so soon after a big emotional event and that, I believe, is wrong. There they [Uefa] should just have said: ‘We won’t play more tonight, of course, and then we will look at what possibilities there are.’

“I respect the fact that our players took the decision together with the Finns but when a thing like that happens your emotions are in control of you and you don’t have the ability to look up and make an important decision. There has to be someone who says, ‘We stop here’, and then we have to have a look at it. And by ‘we’ I mean the organisation, Uefa.

“To play at noon the following day didn’t make sense. Several of the players wouldn’t have slept and then you have to get up at 8am, drive to Parken for 10am and then play at noon.”

Another former Denmark international, Peter Schmeichel, was also upset at the limited options. He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Something terrible happens and Uefa gives the players an option to go out and play the game, the last 55 minutes or whatever it was, or come back at 12 o’clock [the next day]. I mean what kind of option is that?

“It was not an option, it was a ridiculous decision by Uefa and they should have tried to work out a different scenario and show a bit of compassion and they didn’t. I don’t know [about other solutions], but why 12 o’clock? Why take TV scheduling and all of that into consideration. Why 12 o’clock?

“That was ridiculous and, to be fair, the result of the game is completely irrelevant and I have to be very honest … we obviously made a decision if the players come out and play they will only play if Christian is all right and by all right it means he is alive and speaking to the players; they knew he was OK.”

Uefa has been asked to comment.

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