The attacking midfielder received extensive and immediate medical attention on the pitch after suffering a cardiac arrest mid-match in Copenhagen and was taken to hospital soon afterwards - before it was revealed post-match that he had effectively died before being resuscitated.
“He was gone. We did cardiac resuscitation, it was a cardiac arrest,” team doctor Morten Boesen 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.
“[Having top-class medical equipment close by] was completely decisive, I think,” Boesen added. “The time from when it happens to when he receives help is the critical factor, and that time was short.”
Naturally, a period of rehabilitation followed for Eriksen and he ultimately left the club he was with at the time, Inter Milan, but he has gone on to make a full recovery and is now a regular in the Premier League once more.
It was December of 2021, a little over six months after his collapse, when Eriksen’s departure from the Italian side was confirmed. Rather than due to his athletic capabilities being diminished, his exit was due to national league rules: the playmaker had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator fitted following his surgery, with the device not allowed in Serie A.
That left Eriksen searching for a team who would not only give him a chance on his fitness, but also be able to integrate him back into an elite environment where he could prove his enduring worth as a top-tier player.
Brentford FC stepped in to offer exactly that challenge, with Eriksen signing a six-month deal in January 2022 and going on to play a big role for them across the remainder of the campaign.
While the Dane had the option to stay on with the Premier League club, he instead opted higher and joined Manchester United on a three-year deal, under the management of Erik ten Hag.
It was not the first time he had linked up with the Dutchman, as Eriksen initially trained with Ajax - who Ten Hag was then in charge of - to recapture fitness before joining Brentford.
“Manchester United is a special club, and I cannot wait to get started,” Eriksen said upon signing. “I have had the privilege of playing at Old Trafford many times but to do it in the red shirt of United will be an amazing feeling. I still have major ambitions in the game, there is a huge amount that I know I can achieve, and this is the perfect place to continue my journey.”
The 30-year-old has quickly become an integral part of Ten Hag’s team at Old Trafford, starting the majority of Premier League games in a slightly deeper central midfield role and scoring his first league goal for his new club against Fulham in November.
After Eriksen’s collapse in June 2021, the Denmark vs Finland match went on to be completed following a lengthy delay, a decision made by Uefa which many disagreed with at the time and which Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand later admitted he had reservations over as well. Finland went on to win the match 1-0.
“Looking back, I honestly don’t think that we should have been back on the pitch,” Hjulmand said. “I have thought about whether I could have done things differently. We will try tomorrow to establish normality as much as possible. Players have different reactions to shocks and trauma but we will try to get back to normal as much as possible.
“I get the feelings from the players that maybe the time is too short to try to play football again, but maybe we can use it as a force to get together and try to go out and do our best in the next match.”
Ultimately, Denmark did regroup to make it through the group stage thanks to a thrashing of Russia, and reach the knockout phase. There, they beat Wales and Czech Republic to reach the semi-finals, where England triumphed against them after extra time.
But Eriksen’s journey came full circle to an extent over the winter break from domestic action.
Denmark took part in the World Cup 2022 in Qatar and Eriksen played every minute of all three group stage games for the national team; while they suffered a disappointing early exit, for the midfielder it could only have been kept in the context of having missed almost the entirety of the last major tournament after also almost losing his life.
Eriksen is now very much back among the top end of the game, and only looking forwards.