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Christian Eriksen scores with first touch for Denmark upon return to international football after cardiac arrest

By Ben Morse, CNN

Christian Eriksen marked his return to international football by scoring with his first touch for Denmark having suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020.

The 30-year-old was brought on as a halftime substitute against the Netherlands in the two countries’ international friendly, 287 days after collapsing during Denmark’s game against Finland in Copenhagen last year.

And just minutes later, he produced an excellent finish into the top left-hand corner with his first touch of the game.

He could have added a second later on, but he agonizingly hit the post.

Despite Denmark going onto to eventually lose 4-2 to the Netherlands in Amsterdam, Eriksen called his return “perfect.”

“I was happy the ball came to me and of course, it was a lovely finish,” Eriksen told Sky Sports. “To start the comeback in international football like this was the perfect way.

“I felt very welcome (by the Netherlands fans). I’ve been here before (for Ajax) for many years so of course, they know me, but it was a very heartwarming reception for sure.

“I’m looking forward to playing at the Qatar World Cup, but there are a lot of games in between and I’m focused on them.”

The midfielder collapsed during Denmark’s game against Finland in Copenhagen last year and received lifesaving treatment on the pitch. Eriksen was later fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) device, a type of pacemaker intended to prevent fatal cardiac arrests by discharging a jolt to restore regular heart rhythm.

The 30-year-old signed as a free agent for Premier League club Brentford in January after former club Inter Milan terminated his contract, as Serie A rules do not permit footballers to play in Italy’s top division with an ICD fitted.

He made his Brentford debut as a substitute in the 2-0 Premier League defeat to Newcastle on February 26 and has since started in back-to-back victories for the Bees.

Eriksen received a standing ovation from the crowd inside the Johan Cruyff Arena — home of his former club Ajax — when he came on at halftime to earn his 110th cap for Denmark.

Jannik Vestergaard scored Denmark’s opening goal, while Steven Bergwijn scored twice for the Netherlands, with Nathan Ake and Memphis Depay also on the scoresheet.

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