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When Peter Schmeichel And Denmark Forced Back-Pass Rule To Change While Winning Euro 92

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When Peter Schmeichel And Denmark Forced Back-Pass Rule To Change While Winning Euro 92

Denmark winning Euro 92 is an epic underdog story: but the way they did it involved such spectacular s**thousery that it actually rushed through a rule change in football.

Goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel's time-wasting tactic of taking a back pass, waiting for an opponent to close him down, then scooping the ball up, is wonderful in its anti-football genius. And it was on full display throughout Euro 92.

The Danes won the European Championship by upsetting France, the Netherlands and eventually Germany. In part by cunningly utilising the tedious plan of Manchester United legend Schmeichel rolling the ball to a defender, who would pass it back to the keeper, for him to pick up. Hypnotic.

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Changing the back-pass rule to its modern format - where keepers aren't allowed to pick up deliberate passes from their teammates - came into effect for the 1992/93 season.

Introducing a new rule became a talking point after the 1990 World Cup, which featured a 2.2 goal-per-game ratio - the lowest ever seen at a World Cup. Players monotonously passing the ball back to the keeper was a regular theme of the group stages.

But Euro 92 proved the final nail in the coffin for the eyesore tactic, as the Danes even unleashed back passes from central midfield all the way to Schmeichel's waiting gloves in order to kill time.

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After that showing, authorities scrambled to get the rule approved before the beginning of the 92/93 season.

That just so happened to be the first Premier League season and there was plenty of fun as strikers got their revenge by pressing nervous keepers suddenly being forced to use their feet from a back pass.

However there will still be a place in our heart for watching Schmeichel pass the ball to a teammate, receiving it back, forcing Jurgen Klinsmann to half-heartedly jog towards him... before just lifting the ball up in his giant Danish hands.

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So gloriously negative they had to change the rules. What a legacy to leave.

Featured image credit: YouTube

Topics: Football, Denmark, Peter Schmeichel

Alex Reid
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