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Netherlands defender Daley Blind was reduced to tears as he made his way off the pitch just after the hour mark in his nation's victory over Ukraine in their opening game of Euro 2020.
Playing just over 24 hours after Christian Eriksen went into cardiac arrest 40 minutes into Denmark's clash with Finland, Blind was clearly emotional given his ties with Eriksen and the fact Blind knows all too well about the horror of being a professional footballer with heart related issues given his previous health scares.
Blind and Eriksen spent three years at Dutch giants Ajax together from 2010 to 2013 and have remained friends ever since, meaning the Netherlands star was inevitably shaken by Saturday afternoon's events.
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – JUNE 13: Daley Blind of the Netherlands during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group C match between Netherlands and Ukraine at Johan Cruijff ArenA on June 13, 2021 in Amsterdam, Netherlands (Photo by Marcel ter Bals/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
Speaking after his country's thrilling 3-2 win over Ukraine, Blind explained his emotional display as he was substituted: “What happened last night has much impact on me. Not only because Christian is a very close friend of me, but also because of what happened to myself.
"I considered not to play tonight, I had to take a very big mental step."
In late 2019, Blind was diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation after feeling dizzy in a Champions League clash against Valencia.
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Eight months later, Blind collapsed in a pre-season friendly against German outfit Hertha Berlin.
As a result, the former Manchester United star was forced to have a implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted before he was deemed in an appropriate condition to return to action.
The ICD's purpose is monitor any irregular heartbeat patterns, recognising any signs of a potential cardiac arrest and therefore preventing a heart attack.
After the incident against the Bundesliga side, a statement from Ajax read: "Daley Blind collapsed and was taken off during the Ajax-Hertha match. The central defender feels good under the circumstances and was at Sportpark De Toekomst on Wednesday morning.
"He will be examined further and await the results of these tests before resuming training."
Ajax boss Erik Ten-Haag revealed after the game that Blind's ICD had gone off after detecting irregular heartbeats.
Ten Hag told Dutch TV station Ziggo Sport: "Daley Blind’s ICD went off. He got subbed off straight away and he is feeling okay now, he is feeling fine. We will do research about this now."
Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand conceded that it was the wrong decision for his side to resume their game against Finland on the same evening as Eriksen's incident.
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Hjulmand told the media: "I know it is very difficult but looking back, I think it was the wrong decision to make the decision with the players in this scenario.
"Players who are in a shocked condition, players who don't really know yet whether they have lost their best friend.
"They have to decide between these two things. I don't think we should have played, but I know it's difficult."