Christian Eriksen says being back at the World Cup is “very special” as he looks to make a remarkable comeback from his cardiac arrest during last year’s European Championships.
The playmaker collapsed on the pitch against Finland in June 2021 and had to be revived in front of a Copenhagen crowd and a television audience of millions.
On his way to the hospital, he told his wife, Sabrina, that he might never play football again, but eight months later he returned to the game.
The 30-year-old had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator fitted, which meant he had to leave Inter Milan due to regulations in Italy.
But he signed for Brentford in the Premier League and also resumed his international career.
“To be at the World Cup for my national team is very special,” Eriksen said. “It’s something I’ve tried before and I’m so happy to be back again.
“It (the collapse) made me appreciate being alive and being with my family. I feel everything else has been pushed to the side.
Denmark, who face Tunisia on Tuesday, will also be drawn against world champions France in Group D having cashed in on their chances having beaten Les Bleus home and away in the Nations League earlier this year.
With their talisman in top form, Denmark looks an even stronger proposition than the side that was only eliminated from Euro 2020 by England in the semi-finals.
“For me personally it’s always good to be part of the team,” said Ericsson. “I hope to help the team as much as I can in any way I can.
“I know we beat France but normally in a tournament France is a different team than the rest of the year. We know what to do and we look forward to it.
“The national team has always been strong. I think the belief in the team and you guys, the fans, was bigger when I came back from the fall.
Denmark’s assistant coach Morten Vieghorst said that Eriksson was an “inspiration” to his teammates and the rest of the country.
“I think he’s even better than he was before the accident,” Wighorst said. “I really believe that if it were possible, he would have become an even better player.”