Former Burnley midfielder Steven Defour on Christian Eriksen, and the decision to complete the Denmark v Finland Euro 2020 game

Former Clarets midfielder Steven Defour was surprised to see Denmark and Finland complete their opening Euro 2020 game, after Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 11:50 am
Steven Defour

Inter Milan midfielder Eriksen collapsed on the pitch at the Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, shortly before half-time against Finland on Saturday and needed to be resuscitated with a defibrillator.

The former Spurs man has recovered, thankfully, and will be fitted with a heart-starting device.

UEFA gave the teams the choice of returning to play out the second half later that evening, or at noon on Sunday, or for Denmark to forfeit the game.

Finland went on to win 1-0, with Pierre-Emile Højbjerg missing a penalty for the Danes.

Denmark take on Belgium at 5 p.m. on Thursday evening, again at the Parken Stadium, and former Red Devils international Defour, who won 52 caps from 2006-2017, said of the incident which shook world football, speaking to Sky Sports: "I still can't believe that the game was continued after what happened.

"Also when you see the reactions after the game, or the day after, that they didn't really have much of a choice. to play the game.

"I think to get the Euros and then something like this happens is a massive blow, but the most important thing at this time is that Christian Eriksen is better at the moment."

Defour spent three years at Burnley after a then-record move from Anderlecht, scoring three goals in 58 appearances, before returning to Belgium with Royal Antwerp and then his first club Mechelen, before hanging up his boots at the end of the season.

He was a part of the Belgium squad at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, playing in the final group stage match against South Korea, only to be sent off in the last minute of the first half after a tackle on Kim Shin-wook.

Defour was pleased with the way Belgium started Euro 2020, winning 3-0 against Russia in St Petersburg, but he feels there is more to come from the World Cup semi-finalists: "The result was good, but the performance, I think there is still a lot of improvement.

"We didn't play at our best, but then again, if you win 3-0 against Russia, you can be happy about the result."

Former Everton and Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku scored twice in that victory, dedicating the first to Inter Milan teammate Eriksen, and Defour thinks he will continue to shine at the tournament: "He will have a massive impact, I think the Euros is one of his big goals, you saw his focus during the game, every time he got an opportunity, he scored, so he is really focused for the tournament."

Belgium could welcome back Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who suffered an acute nose bone fracture and left orbital fracture in the Champions League final defeat against Chelsea, and Defour thinks he will only make the Red Devils a tougher prospect to face: "It is really important, I think a player like Kevin being back in full fitness is going to be a massive improvement for the team, for any team.

"He trained the last few days, the medical staff are happy about it, so he might have some playing time against Denmark."