The subject of retaken penalties was in the news, even if it was not exactly front page material, as Arsenal beat BATE Borisov in the Europa League, and it is one that has long been a headache for match officials the world over.

That headache was addressed by minor changes a couple of years ago, but for me there could still be the easiest of solutions in dealing with encroachment and that would be to have a total ban on anyone but the taker and goalkeeper in the area, and for there to be no follow-ups.

Any attackers encroaching thus means the risk of a converted penalty being denied and a free kick given in the opposite direction, while defenders encroaching risk the same retake scenario we have today.

The big difference would be the end to players running to convert a rebound or clear the ball. Miss and it’s a goal-kick, whatever the circumstances. Only this will be a deterrent for either side to encroach.

I am also told that there was an instance in League Two when Lincoln played Accrington and a defender was just as far forward as the penalty taker. While we can joke between ourselves about offside calls in such situations, I fear this messy part of our game will only continue to cause problems until we bring in a suggestion like the one above.

Just like most of the world, even the parts that never stood any chance of the slightest involvement, we in Denmark were glued to our televisions on December 1st for the live World Cup draw beamed in live from Moscow.

Out of those big goldfish bowls came France, Australia and Peru, with whom we’ll be sharing Group C, and with them came a reaction we have seen too many times before over a period that has given us more downs than ups, certainly in the last ten years.

Even if most of us understood how much we overachieved back in 1992, that does not mean our public and media do not routinely set the bar too high. While you might think that having needed to go through the play-off process again this time, not forgetting Euro 2016 as well, when we missed out to Sweden, would make us all more realistic, in fact what seems to happen is a big reset button gets pressed and we all magically start from ground zero!

There is also something about the Danish mentality which dictates that we need to take on the toughest challenge or leave it until we are drinking in the last chance saloon before we can get the best out of ourselves and deliver the goods, whatever field of endeavour it may be.

We may have beaten the French on the way to our unforgettable Euro 92 victory, but have only managed two more wins in eight attempts since then. And while I agree with the general consensus that we should be up to the task of overcoming Australia, I’m not sure most Danes realise what a formidable proposition Peru represent. Just look at who did not qualify from their CONMEBOL group, for a start!

Lots of Danes will travel to Russia, I am sure of that. Games at our national stadium are once again selling out of tickets and the feel-good factor is definitely back following a convincing aggregate win over the Irish in November.

Just as long as they remember that there will be no easy teams awaiting Aage Hareide’s Reds, their trip won’t be a wasted one!

Until next time, vi ses, or see you later.


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