Dubai: In the end, the result just did not matter. In fact, many felt that the game should not have even resumed.
There are more important things in life than football – such as, life itself. And the world almost witnessed the tragic loss of one, but for the incredibly quick actions of players and paramedics.
Denmark’s Christian Erkisen suffered a heart attack on the pitch and collapsed, and if we’re being honest and judging by the pictures on TV and reactions from the players and the fans, we all feared the worst.
Referee, Anthony Taylor immediately realized the seriousness of the horrific incident and stopped play and signaled for the medics to rush on to the pitch and resuscitate the 29-year-old Inter Milan midfielder.
The most frightening moment was seeing them desperately give Eriksen chest compressions in a bid to restart his heart.
It was all too much for some on the pitch but the Danish team bravely formed a shield around their stricken talisman and protect him from the eyes of the media and the world watching on.
It took an eternity for news to eventually filter in that the former Tottenham player, who had since been stretchered off and rushed to hospital, had regained consciousness and was even talking.
It was the news we all prayed we would hear.
Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said: “It’s been a tough night. We are all reminded of what the most important thing in life is – to have valuable relationships, people we’re close to, our family and our friends. You can’t play a game with such feelings – there were players out there who were emotionally exhausted.”
The fact that the match was allowed to resume, having been suspended for 90 minutes, did not feel right at all. Respect ought to have been paid to what we had all witnessed, not least to Eriksen himself, and the match should have been postponed until another day when everyone was ready again.
In the end, Denmark’s Schmeichel fumbled at a header from Pohjanpalo and it proved the winner for Finland. The keeper would have normally saved that effort with his eyes shut while Hjolberg saw his tame penalty saved.
Clearly, both these players and others did not have their minds on the game and as a result the Danes lost their opener but again, the result just did not matter anymore.
Our hopes and prayers are with Eriksen and his family and we all wish he makes a full and speedy recovery.