Christian Eriksen back with Denmark at World Cup in Qatar

Oct 24, 2022, 1:26 PM | Updated: Oct 25, 2022, 1:35 am
Denmark's Christian Eriksen is in action during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Croati...

Denmark's Christian Eriksen is in action during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Croatia and Denmark at the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, Croatia, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

(AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

              FILE - Denmark's coach Kasper Hjulmand greets fans after the international friendly soccer match between the Netherlands and Denmark at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, March 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
              FILE - Denmark's Simon Kjaer scores his side's second goal from the penalty spot during the World Cup 2022, group F qualifying soccer match between Moldova and Denmark, at the Zimbru stadium in Chisinau, Moldova, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Aurel Obreja, File)
              Denmark's Christian Eriksen is in action during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Croatia and Denmark at the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, Croatia, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
              FILE - France's Karim Benzema, left, challenges for the ball with Denmark's Victor Nelsson during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between France and Denmark at the Stade de France in Saint Denis near Paris, France, Friday, June 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias, File)

When Christian Eriksen returned to training after his cardiac arrest at last year’s European Championship, it was with one main goal in mind.

“I think one of the first conversations I had with the doctor … was about it being my goal to play in the World Cup if everything went well,” Eriksen told the FIFA website in a recent interview. “That was the dream at the time.”

Not many who watched Eriksen being surrounded by paramedics and teammates as he lay lifeless on the field at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen would have viewed that dream as realistic.

But Eriksen is again set to be a key part of Denmark’s team in Qatar, less than 18 months after medics used a defibrillator to restart his heart as a horrified nation — and much of the soccer world — watched on.

It will be the next step of a remarkable comeback that has already seen Eriksen return to elite soccer, first with Brentford and then Manchester United — showing he is still among the world’s best playmakers. He made his national team comeback in March, scoring two minutes after coming on a substitute in a 4-2 loss to the Netherlands. He also netted with a 25-yard shot against Croatia in the Nations League in September.

“I feel on top and comfortable,” Eriksen told Danish media during last month’s international break. “There is really nothing that can stand in my way.”


While Eriksen is Denmark’s best player, he is far from the only reason to pay attention to the only Scandinavian team at the World Cup. His ordeal at Euro 2020 only seemed to make Denmark stronger as a team as his teammates bonded together as an even closer-knit group in the aftermath.

Denmark reached the semifinals at the tournament before losing to England, and then completed a near-perfect qualifying campaign for the World Cup — winning its first nine games to secure a spot in Qatar before losing the 10th and final match.

“I think this team has the potential to reach another level,” Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said. “When I think back to that Euro semifinal against England at Wembley, for example, we know we can play a lot better than we did that day.”

To underline that statement, Denmark beat defending World Cup champion France 2-0 in its final Nations League game in September.

“If we can play at that level again, we also have a good chance of getting a good result for the World Cup,” Eriksen said after the victory over France.

The Danes will play France again in Qatar, as well as Australia and Tunisia in Group D.


Denmark conceded only one goal in its first nine World Cup qualifiers, highlighting the strength of a defense that is anchored by veteran goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, captain Simon Kjaer and fellow center back Andreas Christensen.

Tottenham’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg adds another focal point to midfield while 22-year-old winger Mikkel Damsgaard is viewed as a star in the making. The only question is where the goals are going to come from. Fullback Joakim Maehle was Denmark’s co-top scorer in qualifying with five goals, while regular striker Yussuf Poulsen only had one.


AP World Cup coverage: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


South Korea's Son Heung-min applauds the fans after losing 4-1 during the World Cup round of 16 soc...
Associated Press

South Korea looks to youth after World Cup loss to Brazil

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — South Korea lost in the round of 16 of the World Cup and then lost its coach. The team was beaten by five-time champion Brazil 4-1 on Monday. After the match, South Korea coach Paulo Bento announced that he was stepping down to end his four-year stint. The Portuguese coach said […]
1 day ago
Brazil's Neymar, from right, celebrates with team mates Lucas Paqueta, Raphinha and Vinicius Junior...
Associated Press

Brazil dancing again after big win at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The joy — and the dancing — are back for five-time champion Brazil at the World Cup. The big win over South Korea on Monday secured Brazil a berth in the quarterfinals in Qatar. It also restored the team’s confidence after a tumultuous start to the tournament in which the Seleçao […]
1 day ago
Paulo Dybala runs during a training session of Argentina's national soccer team in Doha, Saturday, ...
Associated Press

Paulo Dybala, the Serie A standout not needed by Argentina

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Paulo Dybala posted a photo of himself on Instagram laughing along with his Argentina teammate Lionel Messi, with the accompanying words: “We carry on with a smile! Let’s go.” Argentina might be getting ever closer to a place in the World Cup final but, on a purely personal level, the tournament […]
1 day ago
Maryland head coach Kevin Willard signals a play in to his team during the second half of an NCAA c...
Associated Press

No. 13 Maryland off to fast start with marquee games ahead

Kevin Willard believed his new Maryland team would get off to a good start. But this has been a bit more than even Willard expected early in his tenure after a successful run at Seton Hall. “I didn’t envision this,” Willard said. “I’m not going to lie.” The Terrapins (8-0, 1-0 Big Ten) made the […]
1 day ago
FILE - Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors holds a sign in the dressing room in Hershey, ...
Associated Press

Analysis: In the NBA, 100 points no longer assures anything

If the NBA has a magic number, it’s 100. Wilt Chamberlain’s single-game scoring record. A perfect shooting percentage. And the rule pretty much seemed to be that if a team scored 100 points in a game, it probably was going to walk off the floor as a winner. Not anymore. Put simply, 100 doesn’t guarantee […]
1 day ago
Deion Sanders speaks after being introduced as the new head football coach at the University of Col...
Associated Press

Deion Sanders’ arrival swipes buzz from bungling Broncos

DENVER (AP) — Deion Sanders sauntered into the Arrow Touchdown Club for what felt more like an old-fashioned tent revival than a news conference to introduce the University of Colorado’s splashy new hire of “Coach Prime” as its new head football coach. At that very moment Sunday afternoon, the Denver Broncos were predictably blowing another […]
1 day ago
Christian Eriksen back with Denmark at World Cup in Qatar