- The Netherlands defeated Denmark 4-2 in a friendly tie on Saturday in Amsterdam
- The person who took centre stage however was not a Netherlands player but Christian Eriksen, Denmark midfielder
- Eriksen made a comeback to the Denmark team since suffering a cardiac arrest in the Euro 2020 and scored a few minutes after his introduction
Christian Eriksen scored two minutes into his comeback in the international football scene as Denmark fell to a 4-2 loss against the Netherlands in Saturday’s friendly at Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam.
The midfielder was back in Denmark’s squad for the first time since suffering a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 and made an instant impact after being brought on at half-time.
Eriksen’s well-taken goal, coming at the ground where he made a name for himself with Ajax, got Denmark back into the game after the hosts opened up a 3-1 lead at the break.
Steven Bergwijn and Nathan Ake netted either side of Jannik Vestergaard’s leveller before Memphis Depay converted a penalty, with Bergwijn rounding things off after Eriksen’s strike.
The Netherlands had already tested Kasper Schmeichel three times before Bergwijn met Daley Blind’s left-sided cross and headed in a 16th-minute opener.
Denmark’s response was a swift one, with Joakim Maehle sending in a cross for Vestergaard to glance in a leveller four minutes later after Jesper Lindstrom’s free-kick was blocked.
Ake restored the Netherlands’ lead shortly before the half-hour mark with another headed goal, finishing from close range once picked out by a fine Steven Berghuis delivery.
Louis van Gaal’s men had some breathing space before the interval thanks to a Depay penalty, which was awarded for Vestergaard’s challenge on Berghuis.
Denmark lost Yussuf Poulsen and Thomas Delaney to injury but was given a lifeline when Eriksen converted fellow substitute Andreas Skov Olsen’s pass with a first-time finish.
Bergwijn’s curled effort with 20 minutes to go ended Denmark’s hopes of claiming a draw, though there was still time for Eriksen to send a long-range shot off the post.
Eriksen is back, the most important thing for the Danish
Not many expected Eriksen to return to a football field when he collapsed last June, the midfielder later revealing he had died for five minutes before being resuscitated.
A month on from returning to club football with new side Brentford, the 30-year-old wrote another chapter in his remarkable comeback with his strike in Amsterdam.
But the Netherlands ultimately saw out the win in this entertaining friendly to make it eight matches unbeaten under Van Gaal, while Denmark has now lost back-to-back games.
Christian’s Danish delight
Eriksen’s goal – his 37th for Denmark on his 110th cap – came just 114 seconds after being introduced and from just his fourth touch of the ball.
The playmaker showed his quality later in the game with an effort that crashed back off the post, with no Denmark player managing more than his two shots.
The Netherlands had seven shots on target in the first half, which is their highest tally before half-time since November 2014 when also managed seven against Latvia.
Despite finding the net with three of those, they were not exactly comfortable until Bergwijn’s second goal after conceding twice – both of which should have been prevented.
The Netherlands host long-time rivals Germany in another friendly on Tuesday, the same day that Denmark welcomes Serbia to Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.