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Denmark football captain Simon Kjaer has been hailed as a hero for his quick response to teammate Christian Eriksen’s collapse during their Euro 2020 opener against Finland.

Eriksen is stable in hospital following the incident in Copenhagen on Saturday evening, which saw the former Tottenham star suddenly fall to the ground with no other players near him.

The 29-year-old, who had no history of heart problems, was shielded from the television cameras by his distraught Denmark teammates as medical staff tried to resuscitate him on the touchline.

Skipper Kjaer was among the first to rush to Eriksen’s side when he went down and has been credited with playing a potentially life-saving role in the response – as well as for how he led the Danish players in forming the ring and comforted Eriksen’s distraught partner, who went on to the pitch.

Players were distraught as Eriksen received medical attention
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Denmark’s players were distraught as Eriksen received medical attention, forming a shield around him

“Captain and hero: Simon Kjaer,” said Sky Sports journalist Angelo Mangiante.

“Before the medics got there he secured his neck, cleared the airways and started CPR.

“Could have saved Eriksen’s life. Act of heroism.

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“Kjaer trying to keep also Christian’s wife strong, is very emotional. What a man. So proud of you.”

Dr Philip Lee said that Kjaer had “saved his friend’s life”, and tweeted the 32-year-old to say: “Your leadership to the Danish team, your quick thinking, and your actions, are an example to us all.”

Former footballers are also among those to have praised Kjaer, who was said to have been left too overwhelmed to complete the match when it resumed later in the evening.

Finland went on to win the Group B fixture 1-0 via a 59th minute goal from Joel Pohjanpalo, who was restrained in his celebration in light of what had happened.

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Group B - Denmark v Finland - Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark - June 12, 2021 Finland's Joel Pohjanpalo celebrates scoring their first goal with teammate Pool via REUTERS/Jonathan Nackstrand
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Joel Pohjanpalo didn’t celebrate his winning goal with much exuberance after the match resumed

Speaking afterwards, Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand: “Simon Kjaer was deeply, deeply touched. He was in doubt whether he could continue and gave it a shot, but ultimately he couldn’t. I completely understand that.”

Hjulmand – visibly drained at his post-match news conference – said UEFA didn’t put the players under any pressure to finish the match.

He added: “I completely understand that you can’t play a soccer match at this level after watching one of your best friends fight for his life.”

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand embraces his goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who has also been praised for his response to what happened to Eriksen
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Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand embraces his goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who has also been praised for his response to what happened to Eriksen

Kjaer plays his club football in the same city as Eriksen. The defender is with AC Milan, while Eriksen – who lit up the Premier League during his time with Spurs – is currently at rivals Inter.

Ex-Arsenal player Nico Yennaris said Kjaer “could possibly well have saved Eriksen’s life” on Saturday, but there are doubts over whether the midfielder will be able to play again.

Inter physician Piero Volpi told The Associated Press now was not the time to be making such assessments, adding Eriksen had never contracted COVID-19.

After being shielded from view during his on-field treatment, Eriksen appeared conscious as he was taken away on a stretcher with an oxygen mask on.

He was given a standing ovation from the 16,000 fans in the stadium, who had been stunned into silence when the gravity of the situation became apparent.

Eriksen played for Spurs until last year
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Eriksen played for Spurs until last year

As well as Kjaer, Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel – who plays for Leicester – and referee Anthony Taylor have also been singled out for praise.

Taylor, who referees in the Premier League, took seconds to halt play and call for medics.

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Group B - Denmark v Finland - Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark - June 12, 2021 Referee Anthony Taylor during the match Pool via REUTERS/Friedemann Vogel
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English referee Anthony Taylor was quick to halt play and call for the medics when Eriksen collapsed

Among those to highlight Taylor’s response were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who tweeted after it emerged that Eriksen was stable in hospital.

“Well done to the medical team and Anthony Taylor for their calm and swift action,” they said.

The tweet was signed off by Prince William, who is president of the FA.

It’s not known if he’ll be at Wembley later when England begin their Euro 2020 campaign against Croatia. Both sides feature ex-Tottenham teammates of Eriksen, including respective captains Harry Kane and Luka Modric.

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Kamala Harris: US vice president says there must be ‘immediate ceasefire’ in Gaza and more aid – as Israel ‘boycotts’ talks

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Kamala Harris: US vice president says there must be 'immediate ceasefire' in Gaza and more aid - as Israel 'boycotts' talks

US vice president Kamala Harris has said there must be an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza as she called on the Israeli government to do more to increase the flow of aid, with “no excuses”.

Ms Harris said a six-week ceasefire would get Israeli hostages out and get a significant amount of aid into the war-ravaged Palestinian territory.

She said people were “starving” and Israel needed to increase the flow of aid to ease what she described as “inhumane” conditions and a “humanitarian catastrophe”. Her comments are among the strongest by a senior US official over the crisis.

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The vice president also said there is a “deal on the table” and Hamas “needs to agree to that”.

“Let’s get a ceasefire. Let’s reunite the hostages with their families. And let’s provide immediate relief to the people of Gaza,” she said.

Although a Hamas delegation is in Egypt for the latest truce talks, Israel has reportedly boycotted them.

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Israeli media says it is because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not got an answer from Hamas on two questions – a list of hostages who are alive in Gaza and the number of Palestinian prisoners Hamas wants released in exchange for each hostage.

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Gaza: Doctors set up clinics in streets

Ms Harris is on Tuesday due to meet top Israeli politician Benny Gantz, who will also have talks in Washington with US secretary of state Antony Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, and Republican and Democratic members of Congress.

Although Mr Gantz is in Mr Netanyahu’s war cabinet, he is also a centrist political rival and is thought to have been rebuked by the Israeli prime minister for those planned discussions in America.

An official from Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party said Mr Gantz’s visit was not authorised by the leader.

And the PM had a “tough talk” with Mr Gantz about the trip and told him the country has “just one prime minister”, according to the official.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and war cabinet minister Benny Gantz. File pic: Reuters
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(L-R) Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and war cabinet member Benny Gantz. File pic: Reuters

Mr Gantz had told the PM of his intention to travel to the US and to co-ordinate messaging with him, added an official.

US efforts in the region have increasingly been hampered by Mr Netanyahu’s hardline cabinet, which ultra-nationalists dominate. Mr Gantz’s more moderate party sometimes acts as a counterweight to the PM’s far-right allies.

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US carries out first aid airdrop in Gaza

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There are deep disagreements between Mr Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden over how to alleviate Palestinian suffering in Gaza and come up with a post-war vision for the enclave.

On Saturday, the US airdropped aid into Gaza after dozens of Palestinians rushing to grab food from trucks were killed last Thursday.

Speaking on Sunday in Selma, Alabama, Ms Harris said: “People in Gaza are starving. The conditions are inhumane and our common humanity compels us to act.

“The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses.”

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A senior US official had said the path to a ceasefire was “straightforward and there’s a deal on the table”, with mediators returning to Egypt hoping to reach an agreement before Ramadan begins in a week.

The unidentified official spoke to the Reuters news agency ahead of the talks in Cairo, billed as the final hurdle to a six-week ceasefire.

Earlier on Sunday, the US said a deal had already been “more or less accepted” by Israel and was waiting for approval by Hamas militants.

But after the Hamas delegation arrived, a Palestinian official said the deal was “not yet there”. Hamas also reportedly wanted a permanent ceasefire to be part of any deal.

The war started after Hamas launched a cross-border attack on southern Israel on 7 October last year, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking more than 250 others hostage.

Israel retaliated with strikes and a military ground assault in Gaza which have so far killed more than 30,000 people, around two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Around 80% of the population of 2.3 million have fled their homes, and UN agencies say hundreds of thousands are on the brink of famine.

More than 100 hostages in Gaza have been released.

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A fresh truce between Israel and Hamas could be highly significant – in more ways than one

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A fresh truce between Israel and Hamas could be highly significant - in more ways than one

There is increasing hope that a new hostage deal can be agreed between Israel and Hamas in time for the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a week from now, but time is running out and divisions remain between the sides.

Hamas has sent a delegation to Cairo to continue talks; Israel is yet to dispatch its own team and government sources have told Sky News that, among other things, they are still waiting for Hamas to provide information on the hostages they will release.

There are other points of difference, notably over which Palestinian prisoners Israel will agree to release in exchange and the status of Israeli forces inside Gaza, if a truce goes ahead.

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All parties, including the US, Egypt and Qatar, are making positive noises that a deal can be reached but such is the hatred and mistrust between Hamas and Israel that we can take nothing for granted at this stage.

Separately, but not unconnected, a senior member of Israel’s war cabinet, Benny Gantz, is flying to Washington and London for meetings this coming week.

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US puts pressure on Hamas to clinch ceasefire ‘deal on table’

FILE - Israeli Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a press conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. While Israelis quickly rallied behind the military, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party took a hit in opinion polls. Israelis now believe Netanyahu is less fit to govern than Benny Gantz, a rival who agreed to join Netanyahu in an emergency wartime Cabinet. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)
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Benny Gantz could become Israel’s next leader. Pic: Abir Sultan via AP

Although a member of the war cabinet, Mr Gantz leads an opposition party in Israel and has a clear lead in the polling over who should be Israel’s next prime minister.

Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly furious because he wasn’t consulted on the trip.

If a truce is agreed, it might also be the moment when Bibi’s political foes finally move against him – a deal with Hamas could be highly significant on a number of levels and a watershed moment as this war closes in on the five month mark.

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Anger as Pakistan’s parliament confirms Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister

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Anger as Pakistan's parliament confirms Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister

Pakistan’s newly-formed parliament has elected Shehbaz Sharif as the country’s prime minister for the second time.

Mr Sharif won 201 votes from Pakistan’s National Assembly, comfortably ahead of Omar Ayub, the candidate backed by jailed former prime minister Imran Khan, who secured 92 votes.

It means the 72-year-old will resume the role he had until August, when parliament was dissolved and a caretaker government was put in charge until last month’s elections.

Mr Sharif was named premier despite his elder brother Nawaz Sharif winning a seat in parliament and being favourite for the top job.

Nawaz did not want to lead a minority coalition government, having enjoyed majorities in his three previous stints as PM, his daughter Maryam said on X.

The brothers’ Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party won fewer seats than Khan’s allies in the February election – but coalition support was enough to get them a majority.

The election saw arrests, violence, an internet blackout and delayed results, leading to claims from Khan’s allies that the vote was rigged.

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They continued their protests in parliament as Mr Sharif’s premiership was confirmed, calling him a “vote thief” and shouting “shame”.

Imran Khan supporters gather for a protest in Karachi demanding free and fair elections. Pic: Reuters
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Imran Khan supporters protest in Karachi a few days after the election. Pic: Reuters

Mr Sharif offered “reconciliation”, adding: “Let us sit together to work for the betterment of Pakistan.” But his words were met by more shouting.

Meanwhile, his government faces a number of challenges: a struggling economy, a surge in militant attacks, tricky relations with Pakistan’s Taliban-run neighbour Afghanistan, and aging infrastructure.

Financially, Pakistan relies heavily on help from outside – wealthy states such as China and Saudi Arabia, as well as the International Monetary Fund.

An IMF bailout negotiated during Mr Sharif’s previous term will expire at the end of this month and he will need to strike another deal while also addressing growing anger over the rising cost of living.

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