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Christian Eriksen is in a stable condition after suffering what doctors said was a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 match on Saturday.

The Danish footballer is awake in hospital, and has “sent his greetings to his teammates” while he remains under examination following his collapse in Copenhagen.

Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen told a news conference that tests on the player “so far look fine”, adding that Eriksen “was gone” before resuscitation efforts began.

There were cheers as the announcer wished Christian Eriksen well. Pic: AP
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There were cheers as the announcer wished Christian Eriksen well in Wembley on Sunday. Pic: AP

Mr Boesen added: “How close were we? I don’t know. We got him back after one defib, so that’s quite fast.”

“We don’t have any explanation why it happened. The details about what happened I am not quite sure of because I am not a cardiologist, I will leave that to the experts. I didn’t see it live, only on screens afterwards.”

Earlier on Sunday, the Danish FA said in a tweet that the 29-year-old had been in contact with the squad on Sunday, as he continues to recover from the incident in Copenhagen.

“This morning we have spoken to Christian Eriksen, who has sent his greetings to his teammates,” it said. “His condition is stable and he continues to be hospitalised for further examination,” it added.

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Denmark‘s players and staff have “received crisis assistance and will continue to be there for each other after yesterday’s incident”, the statement added, with some of Eriksen’s teammates having been reduced to tears as they formed a wall around him to shield him from the cameras while he received treatment on the pitch.

“We would like to thank everyone for the heartfelt greetings to Christian Eriksen from fans, players, the royal families from both Denmark and England, international associations, clubs etc,” the statement said.

Danish national soccer team's Christian Eriksen trains at Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark September 4, 2020
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Denmark’s Christian Eriksen is in a stable condition in hospital

Medics attended Eriksen after being quickly ushered on to the field by English referee Anthony Taylor, while Denmark captain Simon Kjaer made what has been hailed as a life-saving intervention by securing his neck, clearing his airways and starting CPR.

Kjaer then led the Danish players in forming the ring around their teammate and comforted Eriksen’s partner, who appeared distraught as she went on to the pitch.

Inter Milan midfielder Eriksen, who spent seven years in English football with Tottenham, has been inundated with messages of support since his collapse – including footballers past and present, pundits, politicians and royals.

Boris Johnson was said to have been “shocked” by what happened.

“He is very thankful for the quick thinking actions of officials,” the prime minister’s spokesman said. “The response of players and fans in the stadium was exemplary. It showed sport at its best.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also tweeted to praise the referee and medical team.

Prince William, who is also president of the FA, added: “Encouraging news about Christian Eriksen, we are all thinking about him and his family.”

Also among those to send their well-wishes was former Arsenal and Birmingham player Fabrice Muamba, whose heart stopped for more than an hour while playing for Bolton against Spurs in 2012.

Dr Jonathan Tobin, the Bolton club doctor at the time, told Sky News: “Even managing to start CPR under that much pressure… I’m not understating it when I said I could hardly breathe when I first started treating Fabrice on the pitch.

“After a minute or two, I was into the groove, everything was fine, but that first minute it was hard. All I could hear was my own heart thundering in my head.”

“So, congratulations for starting the CPR and congratulations for letting their training take over,” he said of those who treated Eriksen.

Muamba hoped to resume his career but retired from professional football five months later on medical advice – and doctors are concerned that Eriksen may also struggle to play again.

Sanjay Sharma, professor of sports cardiology at St George’s University in London, who worked with Eriksen at Tottenham during his time in north London, said: “The good news is he will live, the bad news is he was coming to the end of his career, so would he play another professional football game? That I can’t say.

“In the UK he wouldn’t play. We’d be very strict about it.”

He added: “Without putting it too bluntly, he died today, albeit for a few minutes, but he did die and would the medical professional allow him to die again? The answer is no.”

Players were distraught as Eriksen received medical attention
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Players were distraught as Eriksen received medical attention and formed a shield around him

Inter physician Piero Volpi told The Associated Press now was not the time to be making such assessments.

“Right now, the important thing is that he recovers,” added Dr Volpi, who also confirmed that Eriksen had never contracted COVID-19. He also was yet to receive a vaccine.

Some Denmark players chose not to continue playing, coach Kasper Hjulmand said after the Group B match, which Finland went on to win 1-0 via a 59th minute goal from Joel Pohjanpalo.

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 scored the winner for Finland after play resumed some time later

Eriksen was the focus of further well-wishes at Wembley in London on Sunday afternoon, when England begin their Euro 2020 campaign against Croatia.

England captain Harry Kane is a former teammate of Eriksen during his time at Tottenham.

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Rishi Sunak plans to ban Channel migrants from appealing deportation

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Rishi Sunak plans to ban Channel migrants from appealing deportation

The prime minister is looking to ban people arriving in the UK via small boats from appealing against deportation, Sky News understands.

Rishi Sunak has made stopping Channel migrant crossings one of his five priorities in office, promising to introduce new laws to “make sure that if you come to this country illegally, you are detained and swiftly removed”.

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A report in The Times said the Home Office has now drawn up two plans to stop people arriving via this route from claiming asylum – either withdrawing the right to appeal against automatic exclusion from the asylum system or only allowing them to appeal after they have been deported.

A third proposal would prevent people from being able to use the Human Rights Act to stop their deportations, such as by claiming their right to family life.

Sky News understands the report to be accurate.

A Home Office spokesperson would not comment directly on the report, but said: “The unacceptable number of people risking their lives by making these dangerous crossings is placing an unprecedented strain on our asylum system.

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“Our priority is to stop this and prevent these illegal crossings, and our new Small Boats Operational Command – bolstered by hundreds of extra staff – is working hard to disrupt the business model of people smugglers.”

They added: “We are also going further by introducing legislation which will ensure that those people arriving in the UK illegally are detained and promptly removed either to their home country or a safe third country.”

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Chinese spy balloon: US sec of state Blinken speaks with senior Chinese official over cancelled visit

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Chinese spy balloon: US sec of state Blinken speaks with senior Chinese official over cancelled visit

US secretary of state Antony Blinken has spoken with a senior Chinese official about his postponed trip to the country.

US officials said Mr Blinken spoke to the Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Office Wang Yi today postponing the planned visit.

But the secretary of state “indicated he would plan to travel” to China “at the earliest opportunity when conditions allow”.

Officials also said they “noted” China’s statement of regret but said “the presence of this balloon in our airspace is a clear violation of our sovereignty, as well as international law, and it is unacceptable that this has occurred”.

The diplomatic wrangling comes after a Chinese surveillance balloon has been tracked by US intelligence in recent days.

In a press conference today, the US defence department has said the Chinese spy balloon is heading eastwards but poses “no physical or military threat” to civilians.

The Pentagon’s press secretary would not confirm the current location of the balloon, which is operating at around 60,000ft.

There is also no evidence of any nuclear or radioactive material on board but it has the ability to be manoeuvred, according to Brigadier General Pat Ryder.

The spy balloon's route from China over the Aleutian Islands, through Canada and into Montana
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The spy balloon’s route from China over the Aleutian Islands, through Canada and into Montana

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Future Wars: Could there ever be a conflict between the US and China?

He also rejected Chinese claims that the balloon was in fact a “civilian airship” that had strayed into American airspace.

The US authorities said it now knows the object – spotted over Billings, Montana, on Wednesday, close to one of the US’s three nuclear missile silo fields at Malmstrom Air Force Base – was a Chinese balloon flying over sensitive sites to collect information.

A map showing where the balloon was spotted and the US's Malmstrom Air Force Base
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A map showing where the balloon was spotted and the US’s Malmstrom Air Force Base

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed a high-profile visit to China which had been due to begin on Sunday.

Senior state department officials described the incident as a “clear violation of US sovereignty and international law” and said conditions were “not right at this moment” for Mr Blinken to travel.

Mr Blinken was prepared to depart for China tonight before the trip was postponed, Sky News understands.

He plans to travel “when conditions allow”, according to officials.

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Pentagon spokesman said that suspected Chinese spy balloon flying over the US has ‘violated international law’, adding that it doesn’t pose any physical threat for people on the ground.

The Foreign Ministry in Beijing admitted the balloon had come from China – but said it was for meteorological and other scientific research.

The Pentagon spokesperson said it is “monitoring the situation closely and will continue to review options”.

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China responds to claims by the US that it has identified a Chinese 'surveillance balloon' over Montana
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China responds to claims by the US that it has identified a Chinese ‘surveillance balloon’ over Montana

The balloon will probably remain over the US for a few days, the spokesperson added.

US officials also confirmed military intelligence had previously seen similar surveillance balloons elsewhere.

The object is believed to have flown over the Aleutian Islands, off the coast of Alaska, and through Canada before entering the US.

Military and defence leaders had considered shooting the balloon out of the sky but decided against it due to the safety risk from falling debris.

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin convened a meeting of senior military and defence leaders to review the threat profile of the balloon and possible responses, which were presented to US President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

President Biden, speaking at a White House conference about jobs earlier today, refused to answer questions on the topic.

The US has engaged Chinese officials “with urgency” and communicated the seriousness of the situation.

China and the US have experienced tensions of late, clashing over Taiwan and China’s human rights record and its military activity in the South China Sea.

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Paris Olympics: UK to host summit in bid to ban Russia from games

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Paris Olympics: UK to host summit in bid to ban Russia from games

Opposition to Russians being allowed to compete at next year’s Paris Olympics is intensifying, as the UK government prepares to convene talks with more than 30 countries.

The summit is due to be held next Friday 10 February.

The International Olympic Committee is facing dissent over its willingness to allow athletes from Russia to compete as neutrals in Paris next year in defiance of pleas from Ukraine, following Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

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Ukrainian Olympic officials decided on Friday to consult on a possible boycott of the Olympics and an outright ban on Russian athletes – a stance supported by the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania which border Russia and gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Lithuania’s sports minister Jurgita Siugzdiniene told Sky News that her British counterpart has organised a virtual meeting next Friday involving more than 30 countries on excluding athletes from Russia and Belarus from the Olympics.

As well as European governments, officials from Canada, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea are among the global participants in the meeting. Poland has said it would be possible to build a coalition of about 40 countries, including the US, Britain and Canada.

“We should do everything [so] Russian and Belarusian athletes would not participate in the Olympics, and even under the veil of neutrality,” Ms Siugzdiniene said.

“That’s what we should agree and that is very important. And so in that way we wouldn’t need to discuss the boycott.”

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Who is winning the war in Ukraine?

The IOC announced last week that it was open to athletes from Russia and Belarus – which has been used as a staging post for the invasion of Ukraine – competing as neutrals in Paris if they have not actively supported the war.

“I see it as an effort to legitimise and distract attention from Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” Ms Siugzdiniene said.

“I think they can use this as a platform. So it would be very wrong that we would provide this opportunity for them.”

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In the last three summer and winter Olympics between 2018 and 2022, Russian athletes have been prevented from competing with the national flag or anthem as punishment for the country’s state-sponsored doping scheme.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said any neutral flag for Russia in Paris would be “stained with blood”.

At Friday’s meeting, Ukraine’s sports minister and president of the country’s Olympic committee Vadym Hutzait said members were united “against allowing sportspeople from Russia and Belarus from competing”.

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‘Russia will respond to Western arms supplies’

In an appeal to sporting authorities, he said: “As long as the war is going on, as long as our motherland is being bombed, as long as we are fighting for freedom and independence, we have a great wish not to see them [Russians and Belarusians].

“There is a discussion on the international level and we have already some countries supporting us.”

He added: “The price of Ukrainians’ lives is of the highest value. We have no right for compromise … when our Ukrainians are dying.”

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Johnson tells the West: ‘Give Ukraine planes’

The IOC wants sports federations to allow any Russians or Belarusians who have not been “actively supporting the war in Ukraine” to take part and argues it would be discriminatory to ban athletes based on their citizenship alone.

It has responded to the comparison with Apartheid-era South Africa being excluded from the Olympics for more than 20 years, pointing out that UN sanctions were in place at the time.

“There are no UN sanctions in place against Russia and Belarus at this moment in time,” the IOC said.

But Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, can veto any proposed resolution.

Government pressure on athletes and sports bodies should also be resisted, the IOC said, adding its stated mission is “to unite the entire world in a peaceful competition”.

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