English referee Anthony Taylor will officiate the biggest Euro 2020 game of the week after his quick thinking helped save Christian Eriksen’s life last weekend.
Taylor, who has received widespread praise for his response to Eriksen’s cardiac arrest in Copenhagen last weekend, will officiate Portugal’s group stage clash with Germany on Saturday, UEFA announced on Thursday.
The 42-year-old, who lives in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, was the man in the middle when Eriksen suddenly collapsed during Denmark’s game with Finland last Saturday.
As the Danish players ran to their stricken team-mate and Eriksen lay motionless after suffering a cardiac arrest, Taylor immediately recognised something was badly wrong and without a moment’s hesitation, stopped play and waved the medical teams onto the pitch.
The Inter Milan and former Tottenham midfielder required 13 minutes of CPR before he was taken to hospital in a stable condition, where he remains, with Taylor’s response vital to saving Eriksen’s life.
Ed Duckworth, Referee Development Officer at the Cheshire FA, highlighted Taylor’s importance in this outcome.
UEFA have appointed Anthony Taylor and his team to officiate Portugal vs Germany
It comes after Taylor’s quick thinking helped save the life of Christian Eriksen, who suffered cardiac arrest last weekend
Taylor acted quickly to get Eriksen medical attention he needed following his cardiac arrest
He said: ‘Anthony demonstrated why he’s one of the best in the business on Saturday in Copenhagen. His alertness and awareness allowed medical staff to treat Christian Eriksen immediately.
‘This quick intervention from Anthony, the players and the medical staff prevented loss of life, and everyone involved deserves recognition.
‘Knowing Anthony and his humble nature, he won’t want any credit for his involvement. However, he’s a true role model to all referees and we’re proud to say he’s a Cheshire FA referee.’
As a result of his quick thinking and decisive actions, Taylor has now been trusted with the biggest game of the second round of group stage fixtures and will keep Cristiano Ronaldo and Co in line at the Allianz Arena.
Taylor’s experience as a prison officer helped him make the split-second decisions that saved the life of Eriksen, according to the man who mentored him.
Taylor (left) kept his composure during the horrifying scenes in Denmark’s match against Finland and his decision-making helped to save Eriksen’s life
Taylor has been praised by Chris Foy, who was one of the coaches that worked with the former prison guard as he established himself as an official in the Premier League.
And on Saturday night at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Foy said all of Taylor’s training and experience – on the pitch and off it at the notorious Strangeways prison in Manchester – came together as he took control of the horrific circumstances surrounding Eriksen’s collapse.
Taylor’s first career was as a prison officer. He lives in Cheshire and relaxes walking his black cockapoo, Montgomery
Taylor managed the appalling events with a coolness and professionalism that has won him praise around the world, including from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Finland captain Tim Sparv, former referee Mark Clattenburg, as well as countless fans and pundits.
‘Encouraging news about Christian Eriksen, we are all thinking about him and his family,’ the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Twitter account said. ‘Well done to the medical team and Anthony Taylor for their calm and swift action. W.’
All the time, Taylor was focused on those around him, feeding information back to the technical area via his radio link with the fourth official and calming the distraught players, who quickly formed a human shield around their colleague.
And Foy says the referee’s experience in the most extreme situations has taught him to cope and deliver when every second counts
Taylor himself has compared his experience at Strangeways, a category A prison, where some of Britain’s most dangerous inmates are incarcerated, with refereeing. And the ability to spot a problem and take decisive action is something common to both jobs.
Referee Taylor (middle) pictured heading out onto the pitch in the moments before Denmark’s match against Finland kicked off on Saturday in Euro 2020
‘There are skills which are interchangeable between working in the prison service and refereeing,’ Taylor, who lives in Cheshire with with his wife and two teenage daughters, told The Sun before taking charge of the FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea in 2017.
‘It’s not about red and yellow cards, it’s about stopping things happening as much as you can. Trying to be proactive.
‘Working in a prison meant I needed a lot of communication and management qualities to deal with daily situations.
‘I specialised in control and restrain techniques, educating staff on the best ways to control violent individuals and difficult situations that arise.
‘I spent a considerable number of years working with those who suffered severe mental health problems, a lot of attempted suicides, that kind of thing.’
Foy, who is now the head of public engagement at the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), which provides referees to the Premier League and EFL, has worked with Taylor and mentored him.
Denmark player Eriksen collapsed shortly before half-time during his country’s Euro 2020 tie against Finland at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen
The devastated Denmark players formed a shield around team-mate Eriksen on the pitch
‘Anthony was a prison officer and I am quite sure he has been in some stressful situations before, but it is how you deal with that,’ Foy told Sportsmail.
‘The way he dealt with it was prompt, it was quick, it was confident. And it was the right course of action so probably his prison training came in and did give him a bit of help in that situation.’
Taylor refereed his first Football League matches in 2006, when he was still working 40-hour shifts – including nights – at the Manchester prison.
Foy (left) has worked with Anthony Taylor during Premier League fixtures
He became a Premier League referee in 2010 and has officiated the EFL Cup final, Championship Play-Off final and Community Shield, as well as the FA Cup final.
Foy said he was proud of Taylor, 42, even before Eriksen, 29, collapsed, just seeing him refereeing in a major tournament, and his admiration only grew as he watched on.
‘I felt awful when I saw that,’ Foy told Sportsmail. ‘When he had to deal with that situation… The way he recognised it. He saw it and recognised what had gone on, thinking quickly and then he’s got to act.
‘Bang, bang, bang. It’s fast, it’s quick. And he’s dealt with it. He did a cracking job.’
The scenes in the Parken Stadium were particularly harrowing for Foy, who was a referee in the Football League and Premier League for almost 20 years.
The veteran ref had been the fourth official on the day that Fabrice Muamba collapsed at White Hart Lane after suffering a cardiac arrest in March 2012, when he was playing for Bolton Wanderers against Tottenham in a televised FA Cup game.
‘It was not a good feeling to see that,’ said Foy, who admitted he texted Howard Webb, the match referee at Spurs nine years ago.
‘Thankfully both players are still alive, which is absolutely brilliant.’
Fabrice Muamba is treated on the pitch at White Hart Lane after he suffered a cardiac arrest in 2012 – Taylor’s mentor Chris Foy was the fourth official that day during the match
Following Eriksen’s collapsed, the players returned to the pitch to complete the match, which Finland won 1-0. Afterwards, Finland captain, Tim Sparv led the tributes to Taylor.
‘The way referee Anthony Taylor handled the whole situation was very good,’ he told Sportsmail.
‘For me, he was a key person during this event. I felt he was a very calm character, he was very empathetic to our emotions. I felt he was fantastic, the way he dealt with all of it and the way he communicated everything.
‘A big credit to him and his colleagues in this kind of situation. I can imagine it was tough for them as well. They were very friendly and Taylor was a fantastic guy.’
Thankfully Eriksen was conscious when he left the stadium on Saturday and has undergone tests in hospital.
And today the doctor who helped bring Eriksen back to life has revealed what the Danish star said in the moments after he regained consciousness.
It comes as Denmark’s national team doctor has announced that Eriksen will have a heart-starter fitted after his cardiac attack was caused by ‘rhythm disturbances’.
German doctor Jens Kleinefeld was one of the first people on the scene at the Parken Stadium and helped deliver an electric shock that restarted the 29-year-old’s heart. He’s now revealed what Eriksen said in the moments after he regained consciousness.
German doctor Jens Kleinefeld was one of the first people immediately on the scene at the Parken Stadium to treat Eriksen
Kleinefeld told Fox Sports: ‘About 30 seconds later, the player opened his eyes and I could talk to him directly.
‘That was a very moving moment, because in such medical emergencies in everyday life, the chances of success are much lower.’
Kleinefeld revealed he then asked Eriksen: ‘Well, are you back with us?’ and Eriksen replied: ‘Yes, I am back with you. For f***s sake, I’m only 29 years old.’
What is an implantable cardioverter defibrillator?
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator is a small device which can treat people with dangerously abnormal heart rhythms.
It sends electrical pulses to regulate abnormal heart rhythms, specifically those that can be dangerous and cause a cardiac arrest.
If an ICD notices a dangerous heart rhythm it can deliver one or more of the following treatments:
Pacing – a series of low-voltage electrical impulses (paced beats) at a fast rate to try and correct the heart rhythm.
Cardioversion – one or more small electric shocks to try and restore the heart to a normal rhythm.
Defibrillation – one or more larger electric shocks to try and restore the heart to a normal rhythm.
Danish national team doctor Morten Boesen announced on Thursday morning that Eriksen will be given an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to regulate his heart’s rhythm.
A statement read: ‘After Christian has been through different heart examinations it has been decided that he should have an ICD.
‘This device is necessary after a cardiac attack due to rhythm disturbances.
‘Christian has accepted the solution and the plan has moreover been confirmed by specialists nationally and internationally who all recommend the same treatment.
‘We encourage everybody to give Christian and his family peace and privacy the following time’.
It was announced on Wednesday that Belgium will kick the ball into touch in the 10th minute of their game against Denmark on Thursday night – allowing them to applaud Eriksen as he continues to recover.
It will be only the second time Denmark have taken to the field since the incident and Belgian striker Lukaku said it was important to his team – with many of the squad having played with the 29-year-old in the past.
‘After 10 minutes of the match we will put the ball in touch to applaud,’ Lukaku said.
‘Several players from our country have played with him but we will be there to win and that is the most important.’
Denmark captain Simon Kjaer, who played a critical role in aiding Eriksen and supporting his stricken team-mate’s wife and fellow players, paid a touching tribute in the hours before kick-off on Thursday night.
The AC Milan defender said: ‘It has been some very special days, where football has not been the most important thing.
‘A shock, that will be part of me – part of all of us – forever! The only thing that is important and really matters, is that Christian is okay! I am proud of how we acted as a team and how we stood together in these difficult times. I am touched and very grateful for all the support.
‘Today, we will enter the pitch against Belgium with Christian in our hearts and thoughts. It gives us peace in our mind, which allows us to focus on the game of football. We will play for Christian, and as always for all of Denmark. This is the greatest motivation for us all’.
Eriksen posted the first picture of himself in hospital since suffering a cardiac arrest on Tuesday.
Denmark captain Simon Kjaer paid a touching tribute to Eriksen in the hours before kick-off
In the caption, the 29-year old said: ‘Hello everyone. Big thanks for your sweet and amazing greetings and messages from all around the world. It means a lot to me and my family.
‘I’m fine – under the circumstances. I still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay.
‘Now, I will cheer on the boys on the Denmark team in the next matches. Play for all of Denmark. Best, Christian’.
On Monday, Eriksen also thanked fans for their support and concern, and vowed to get to the bottom of why he experienced such a sudden and serious health emergency in a short statement released to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport via his agent.
Eriksen’s statement read: ‘Thank you, I won’t give up. I feel better now – but I want to understand what’s happened.
‘I want to say thank you all for what you did for me.’
On Wednesday, players and coaches from every competing nation at Euro 2020 sent their best wishes to Eriksen in a touching video message.
Eriksen gave fans a thumbs up on Instagram this week from hospital after his cardiac arrest
Eriksen said: ‘I’m fine – under the circumstances and still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay’
England’s Kieran Trippier, Wales’s Gareth Bale and Scotland’s Andrew Robertson were three of the players who featured, as well as Spain coach Luis Enrique and Holland manager Frank de Boer.
The UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin opened the messages and the video finished with Anthony Taylor, the referee in charge of the Denmark vs Finland match, wishing Eriksen well.
In between were kind words from a representative from each of the 23 participating countries other than Denmark, either in English or their native language. In some, the entire squad of players is present.
Trippier, a former team-mate of Eriksen’s at Tottenham Hotspur, said: ‘I just want to say that I’m thinking of you. We’re hoping for a speedy recovery, we’re all behind you.
‘We send best wishes to your kids, your wife and the whole family. Take care mate!’
Bale, who left Spurs just as Eriksen joined the club in 2013, said: ‘I just wanted to say on behalf of everyone here with the Wales football team, we’re glad to see you getting better, we wish you a speedy recovery and all the best for the future.’
Wales star Gareth Bale was among the players and coaches from every Euro 2020 wishing Eriksen a speedy recovery in a video published by the Danish FA
Eriksen’s former Tottenham team-mate Kieran Trippier, of England, also featured in the video
In his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, Thomas Delaney said Denmark have been strengthened in the wake of Eriksen’s collapse.
As they prepare for Thursday’s fixture against Belgium at the same venue still processing what happened, midfielder Delaney said: ‘It’s hard. It’s a situation none of us have ever imagined could happen, and that’s how it felt on the pitch. It felt surreal.
‘It was a really good setting for all of us to be together to talk about it together. I’ve experienced a lot in this squad for the past few days.
‘Everyone had the opportunity to be honest about their feelings and it’s been a good thing.
‘It’s nice that we all know each other and everyone can just be themselves. It’s a terrible situation, but thankfully it’s a nice place to be right now.’
Thomas Delaney said Denmark have been strengthened in the wake of Eriksen’s collapse
Skipper Simon Kjaer was quick to realise Eriksen was in trouble and to summon medical help, and he and the remaining members of the team formed a protective shield around the stricken former Tottenham star as he was treated.
Many were visibly moved, while others prayed with team doctor Morten Boesen, who later revealed he ‘was gone’.
Delaney said: ‘Some things need to be done very, very fast and Simon Kjaer arrived very fast and we called for help.
‘Unfortunately, I’ve done this before. We decided to make this shield to protect him. It was not only to protect Christian and the medical staff, but also Christian’s friends and family.
‘It was not a fun situation to be in, but it was a way we could help Christian.’