Soccer-Denmark captain Kjaer considered not playing in Belgium game

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Denmark Press Conference - Helsingor, Denmark - June 22, 2021 Denmark's Simon Kjaer at the press conference REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark captain Simon Kjaer considered not playing in his side's Euro 2020 Group B game against Belgium after playmaker Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in their opening match against Finland.

The central defender is credited with helping to save the life of Eriksen, who has since been discharged from hospital, thanks to his quick action when his team mate collapsed just before halftime in the 1-0 loss to Finland 10 days ago.

"The idea was not that I would stop playing football completely, but if I would be ready to play football again four days later," Kjaer told broadcaster Danmarks Radio on Tuesday.

"I didn’t know if I was going to play football again right away after what happened that night. And then you come to a point where you want to try, but you do not know. But the way we have tackled it together is something we can only be proud of. I am very proud of the lads and the whole staff," Kjaer added.

The Danes lost 2-1 to Belgium and needed a 4-1 win over Russia in Copenhagen in front of 23,000 fans and Finland's loss to Belgium to snatch second place in the group on goal difference and set up a last-16 clash with Wales in Amsterdam on Saturday.

"We had probably dreamed that there could be some euphoria in Denmark after three matches. But the support and support we have received has been wilder than expected," Kjaer said.

"There have been some wild days in Parken that we will never forget. It has just been too insane, and we are deeply grateful for the support we have received," he added.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond)

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