Denmark captain Simon Kjaer was the first one to assist his friend Christian Eriksen on Saturday, and he is now considered one of the heroes of a dramatic match.

He comforted his teammate’s partner and he also led a shocked team back onto the pitch.

Some 20 minutes after the restart of the match between Denmark and Finland, Kjaer asked coach Kasper Hjulmand to be substituted.

“Simon was deeply affected and doubted whether he could continue. He tried, but it was not possible,” Hjulmand said.

Millions of people watching on screens, in the stands and on the pitch were shocked and praying on Saturday after Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed.

The Inter Milan player had to be resuscitated on the pitch.

Kjaer is not only a close friend of Eriksen and the captain of the national team, but after the incident, he can also be considered one of the evening’s heroes.

It was Kjaer who placed his friend lying on the ground into a stable side position and prevented him from swallowing his tongue.

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It was also Kjaer who comforted Eriksen’s partner on the sidelines and who got his teammates to form a circle around the stricken player to block the view.

“I’ve known you for 17 years and I’ve never been more proud of you than I am tonight. You’re a real hero.

You saved your friend Christian Eriksen’s life,” wrote former Denmark international and Kjaer’s advisor Mikkel Beck on Instagram.

The captain led his team back to the pitch once the game was resumed after an interruption of two hours.

At some point, however, the images and emotions of the dramatic evening were too much for him and he was substituted.

From a purely sporting point of view, the 32-year-old has already experienced a lot in his career.

At 21, he moved to Wolfsburg as a great defensive talent, but didn’t fulfil the high expectations in the Bundesliga.

He then went to Roma, Lille, Fenerbahce and Sevilla.

Kjaer regularly changed leagues and countries. He was sometimes a top player, sometimes just average, before his career got an unexpected boost at AC Milan.

Together with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he led the club from mid-table back into the UEFA Champions League last term.

Many considered this to be mainly Ibrahimovic’s achievement, but Kjaer’s influence was at least as great.

“They play for two rival clubs in Milan, but Simon and Christian are really, really close friends,” Hjulmand said. “Their lives, their families’ lives, are intertwined.”(dpa/NAN)