In his first appearance for his country since he suffered cardiac arrest during a match, Christian Eriksen scored just two minutes after coming on as a substitute for Denmark against the Netherlands in a friendly on Saturday.
After arriving on the pitch as a half-time substitute for Jesper Lindstrom, Eriksen made an immediate impact, dispatching a first-time shot into the top corner of the net with his very first touch to reduce the Netherlands’ lead to 3-2 in the Amsterdam friendly. The Netherlands would go onto win 4-2 but not before Eriksen came close to a dream second goal when hitting the post.
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The goal was Eriksen’s first in any competition since May 23, 2021 for Inter Milan. He had not played for Denmark since the Euro 2020 opener against Finland last June, when he collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest.
“I was pleased to show I can still play. It feels like I’ve never been away from the team,” Eriksen told Dutch TV.
“It was a bit emotional to be back in the national team but I’ve hardly missed any games over the last 10 years so I’m like part of the family.”
Eriksen, 30, has impressed at Premier League side Brentford after signing for the club on a free transfer in January, having left Inter Milan in December.
Since joining Brentford, he has played three times, providing an assist in their 2-0 win over Burnley on March 12.
Johan Cruyff Arena was a fitting stage for his international comeback. It was there that he made his name during a five-year spell at Ajax when he went from callow youth to playmaking powerhouse, steeped in the attacking Dutch tradition.
He joined Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 and played in the 2019 Champions League final during seven years at the London club before moving to Inter, where he won the Italian title.
His entrance just before the second half began Saturday prompted loud cheers from both sets of fans, and the midfield maestro wasted no time giving them what they came to see.
“It gave me goosebumps, of course,” Netherlands and former Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt said. “I must say at the pitch, at some moments, it was hard to go all-in against him. You have to ignore that. I’m really glad that he’s back. His goal and his attempt at the post shows his class.”
“I think everyone was looking forward to this moment before the game, especially in the Johan Cruyff Arena, where he grew up as player of Ajax. I’m really glad that he’s back on this level.”
His work done, Eriksen accepted the applause of the Amsterdam crowd at the final whistle and a new chapter in the national team that few could have expected had begun.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.