Slovenia 1-1 Denmark: Christian Eriksen marks Euros return with goal (2024)

The last time Christian Eriksenplayed a game in this tournament he almost died.

Three years on this walking miracle gave Denmark something to smile about on their runway to England, if not the win that would have provided some useful speed.

Instead, they were limited to a draw by a Slovenian team that is found between Paraguay and Iraq in FIFA’s rankings and spent the first half hopelessly lost to the occasion.

That Denmark took the lead and then blew it was both a baffling mystery for their manager Kasper Hjulmand and possibly a comfort for his English counterpart, Gareth Southgate, ahead of Thursday’s engagement in Group C.

He will have seen a side of familiar names who move the ball fast and well, have no shortage of pace, but paid for failing to put the game to bed.

Christian Eriksen (pictured) returned to play for Denmark at the Euros 1,100 days after he collapsed on the pitch at Euro 2020

The Manchester United star marked the game with a goal, poking in with his left foot in the 17th minute to give his side the lead in the first half

Erik Janza (top) would cancel out Eriksen's goal with a sensational second-half strike from outside the penalty area

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If there was an uplift for Denmark on a disappointing day then indisputably it came from Eriksen, who scored a quite lovely goal after 17 minutes and also rammed words down a few throats.

Read More Christian Eriksen eager to prove he's still got it on Euros return, three years after cardiac arrest

It was in March when Thomas Gravesen, once of Real Madrid and now a gob for rent, said: ‘Christian Eriksen doesn’t play football anymore - he sits on the bench and watches football.'

Given Eriksen’s limited activity at Manchester United, it wasn’t entirely without merit.

But what a wonderful way to slap that one down. And what a poignant time to do it, coming exactly 1,100 days after he went into cardiac arrest on that pitch in Copenhagen during Denmark’s opener in 2021.

And yet that was their sole highlight. For the next hour, Slovenia didn’t land so much as a shot on goal, but somehow Denmark lost their legs, their concentration and then their grip, with the leveller from Erik Janza via a deflection off Morten Hjulmand’s backside preceding chances for the result to get even worse. England won’t give up much sleep after reviewing the footage.

Walking miracle Eriksen (right) gave something for Denmark fans to smile about even if his side were unable to get the win

Denmark dominated Slovenia in the opening hour of the match, with Rasmus Hojlund (centre) having several chances on goal

Slovenia grew into the game as Denmark appeared to tire, with Andraz Sporar (left) posing a threat for Slovenia in the second half

The breakthrough finally came, with Janza (pictured) swiping his left foot through the ball from around 20-yards out

Arsenal target Benjamin Sesko (right) struggled to get into the game as Denmark cut off any supply lines into the striker


Slovenia (4-4-2): Oblak 7; Karnicnik 5, Drkusic 6.5, Bijol 6.5, Janza 6; Stojanovic 6 (Verbic 67, 6), Cerin 5, Elsnik 5 (Stankovic 76), Mlakar 6.5 (Celar 76); Sesko 7 (Kurtic 90), Sporar 6 (Brekalo 90).

Subs not used: Belec, Vekic, Balkovec, Blazic, Lovric, Horvat, Vipotnik, Zugeli, Zeljkovic

Goal:Janza 77'

Bookings: Stojanovic, Celar

Coach: Matjaz Kek

Denmark (3-4-1-2): Schmeichel 6; Anderson 6.5, Christensen 6, Vestergaard 6; Bah 6, Hjulmand 7 (Delaney 89), Hojbjerg 6.5 (Norgaard 84), Kristiansen 7 (Maehle 76); Eriksen 7.5; Wind 6.5 (Dolberg 83), Hojlund 5 (Poulsen 83).

Subs not used: Hermansen, Ronnow, Kjaer, Jensen, Olsen, Jorgensen, Damsgaard, Dreyer, Kristensen, Larsen

Goal: Eriksen 17'

Bookings: Hjulmand

Coach:Kasper Hjulmand

Referee:Sandro Scharer (Sui) 7

Venue: MHPArena (Stuttgart)

Attendance: 60,449

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At this point, a word on Slovenia. While ranked 57th in FIFA’s standings, they are not too shabby.

In fact, they hadn’t lost in five games this year, which mostly came against weaker rungs on the ladder but did include a 2-0 win over a Portugal side featuring Cristiano Ronaldo.

Here, they kept to a rigid 4-4-2, played long and for most of the game they no success with any of it.

Across the first half, the closest they came was a 20-yarder from Benjamin Sesko that whizzed past Kasper Schmeichel but tracked a fraction wide.

Such has been Sesko’s form at RB Leipzig, Arsenal were willing to spend upwards of £50million on the 21-year-old before he signed a new deal in Germany, but for long chunks in Stuttgart he was out of reach.

All supply lines in his direction were being suffocating by Hjulmand and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in a midfield battle that couldn’t have been more one sided – it seems reasonable to assume Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and others won’t make it so easy.

It was on such a platform of control that Denmark went ahead.

A quick throw was at the root of the move, but the class came from the flick of Jonas Wind, before Eriksen took the ball on his chest and lashed the finish on the half-volley.

In many ways, Eriksen told the story of Denmark’s wider game. In the first half, he was involved in seven of his side’s eight chances, a creator who will always be able to pick a pass.

But at 32 he has a habit of wilting and that went as much for him as the Danes on the whole.

Those moves of speed and fizz, led by mostly up the left by Viktor Kristiansen and Hjulmand, vanished after the break and Denmark faded abruptly.

Denmark threatened Slovenia on several occasions, but couldn't quite close out the game, with Jan Oblak (right) smothering a close chance for Hojlund in the second half

Kasper Schmeichel (green shirt) equally provided a final line of defence for Denmark and stopped a deflating result from becoming a total disaster

After Rasmus Hojlund had an excellent chance smothered by Jan Oblak, they paid for failing to turn possession into goals.

The warning came from David Brekalo, who fluffed a free header, before Sesko flushed a strike against the post immediately before Janza levelled.

Thereafter Schmeichel made his first save from Andraz Sporar to stop a deflating result from becoming a real drama.

Slovenia 1-1 Denmark: Christian Eriksen marks Euros return with goal (2024)


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