Daley Blind overcame 'mental hurdle' to play for Netherlands

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Seamus Leonard

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Daley Blind revealed that he struggled to take to the field for Netherlands on Sunday following Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest the previous day.

Netherlands 3
Ukraine 2
Full time

The football world witnessed the traumatic images of the Denmark star collapsing during the first half of their Euro 2020 clash with Finland in Copenhagen.

Thankfully Eriksen survived and is recovering in hospital, but only following life-saving CPR administered by medical staff.

The incident revived memories of Blind’s own health issues.

He was diagnosed with a heart muscle inflammation after he complained of dizziness during Ajax’s Champions league game with Valencia in December 2019.

The 31-year-old had a cardioverter defibrillator implanted after that scare, which subsequently went off in a friendly against Hertha BSC in August 2020.

Naturally then, Saturday’s events impacted negatively on Blind.

“I had to overcome a mental hurdle to play,” he told Dutch broadcaster NOS after his side’s dramatic win over Ukraine.

“I’m proud that I did it. Then eventually the emotion comes out.”

Blind admitted he was watching the Denmark game live as his former Ajax team-mate fell to the turf at Parken Stadium.

“That has such an impact. For me they were recognisable things. That made it so intense.”

Blind played on the left of an Oranje back three on home soil at the Johan Cruyff Arena, lasting just over an hour before being replaced by Nathan Ake.