‘One would have liked there to be a third option’ Braithwaite confirms UEFA gave Denmark players little choice in restarting Finland match

UEFA gave Denmark little choice

With Christian Eriksen on his way to hospital and thousands of Denmark and Finland fans left in the ground chanting his name, the players were given a choice.

Not a choice of whether to take considerable time to reflect, recover and find out more information on Eriksen’s situation but a choice as to whether restart the game then and there or in less than 24 hours time.

A press conference with Barcelona forward Martin Braithwaite confirmed this.

The Danish players were told that they could either play the match on Saturday night, otherwise it could be resumed on Sunday at 12.00.

When asked if it has been the players ‘wish’ to play on he denied this.

“It was not a wish. We had two options, and in that situation we were told we had to make a decision,” said Braithwaite.

“In that situation, of course, one would have liked there to be a third option. You do not want to go out and play at that moment

“We all knew very well that there would be no sleep at night. The next day was not at all an opportunity for us to go out to play.”

When the match was restarted, news circulated that Eriksen had spoken to the players via facetime and told them to go through with the game’s conclusion.

Denmark lost 1-0 and Pierre Emile Hojbjerg missed a penalty.

UEFA put a tweet out which said that ‘following the request made by players of both teams’ with no mention of the choice given to them.

An impossible situation

It was clear from the performance that things were not right and furthermore, Simon Kjaer had to be substituted for reasons later revealed by his coach. Kasper Hjulmand, the Denmark head coach, said how it wasn’t possible for him to continue.

“Kjaer was very, very touched. They are [Kjaer and Eriksen] very good friends,” said Hjulmand.

“He wanted to try continue playing, but it was impossible. Feelings overwhelmed him. It is totally understandable.”

Hjulmand went onto say that it had been a traumatic experience for his side.

“We have a group of players I can’t praise enough. I couldn’t be prouder of these people who take such good care of each other at such a time where one of my very, very dear friends is suffering,” he said.

“There are players in there who are completely, emotionally finished. Players who on another day could not have played this match. They are holding each other. It was a traumatic experience.”

In moments of emotions which are indescribable, it seems almost inhuman to ask a person to continue to perform a task at the top level, or any level for that matter, when a loved one is fighting, or has just fought, for their life.

The emotional toll of knowing that you are doing what they were also doing in the moment of an unexplained serious health condition. Some serious questions should be asked as the mental health of those we expect to perform for us is brought into focus once more.

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