The decision to resume Denmark’s Euro 2020 opener against Finland following Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest was “the least bad,” Danish forward Martin Braithwaite said.
Eriksen had to be resuscitated in the field after collapsing shortly before half-time in Saturday’s game, he was then taken to hospital.
The 29-year-old Inter Milan player is in “good and stable” condition.
Braithwaite said he had “images in his head” that he wanted to “get rid of”.
“I am still moved by the situation,” said the Barcelona forward. “Most importantly, Christian is feeling better and therefore I feel better too.
“His health is the most important thing of all. It was important for me personally to see that he felt better through the video. I had a few pictures in my head from last Saturday that I would like to get rid of.
“We were all on the verge of losing a friend and a teammate. It’s not something you normally think of on a football pitch. Joy and love are normal. No one can prepare for what has happened. “
On Monday, Eriksen’s agent Martin Schoots said he spoke in the midfielder on Sunday and was “making jokes” and “in good shape”.
It was only after being informed that Eriksen was awake in hospital that the players agreed to resume the game, which resumed almost two hours after Eriksen collapsed.
UEFA gave them the choice to continue the game that evening or to play Sunday at noon. Finland ultimately won 1-0.
Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand later said the game should not have restarted, while former goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel said it was “absolutely ridiculous”.
“Neither option was good,” Braithwaite said. “We took the less bad. There were a lot of players who couldn’t play. We were in a bad position. We made the least bad decision.
“We were told we had to make a decision. This is the only thing I can say. I wish there was a third option. Because I didn’t want to go out anymore. But UEFA said there were two options. We made a decision because we knew we wouldn’t be able to sleep that night. “
Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel said: “We have been placed in a position which I personally think we should not have been placed. “
The Leicester City captain added that he would have liked someone in a higher position to say ‘now is not the time to make this decision, and maybe we should wait until the next day to decide’.
“What happened has happened, and I hope they will learn from it,” he said.
Eriksen “wants to encourage his teammates against Belgium”
Eriksen remains in Copenhagen hospital where his agent said he was undergoing “detailed examinations” by doctors.
Speaking to the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Schoots said: “I spoke with Christian [on Sunday] Morning. He was making jokes, I thought he was good, he was in good shape.
“We all want to understand what happened to him too. Doctors are doing extensive testing, it’s going to take a little while.
“He was happy because it struck him how much love there is for him. He received messages from all over the world. Christian will not give up. Christian and his family want to thank everyone.
“Now he just needs to rest. His wife and parents are with him. Too [on Monday] it will be kept under observation, possibly Tuesday as well. “
Denmark will play their second Group B match against Belgium on Thursday.
“In any case, he wants to cheer on his teammates for the game against Belgium,” added Schoots.
Schmeichel visited Eriksen in the hospital and said it “helped him a lot” after seeing his teammate “smile and laugh”.
“We are still in the tournament. Now we have to try to see if we can win that and do it for Christian and do it for all the fans who sat down with us and were just as helpless in the situation as we are, ”he said.
“I have no doubt that this team has the unity, the strength to be able to come together and come out and do something special. “