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Football: Denmark build-up hindered by injury problems

DENMARK'S INJURY problems continued yesterday ahead of their Euro 2000 play-off first leg against Israel tomorrow.

Sporting Lisbon's goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, and the MSV Duisberg midfielder, Stig Toefting, trained as hard as their respective calf and leg injuries would allow, but the Tottenham midfielder, Allan Nielsen, failed to take part and was reported to be in pain.

"I have not been training with the others but I am still hopeful about participating," Nielsen said. "It looks positive about Peter, but we probably won't know until Friday whether he can play," Thomas Soerensen, the reserve goalkeeper, said. Soerensen will make his debut if Schmeichel is unfit.

Refereeing the game will be David Elleray, who controlled Sunday's north London derby between Spurs and Arsenal at White Hart Lane and dismissed the Gunners' Fredrik Ljungberg and Martin Keown.

The Ukraine's coach, Josef Sabo, was struggling with defensive problems before his team face Slovenia in the first leg of their play-off in Ljubljana tomorrow. The Arsenal defender, Oleh Luzhny, is still a doubtful starter for the game because of his groin and leg injuries and it is likely his place will go to Spartak Moscow's versatile defender, Dmitro Parfyonov. The outlook for the injured Dynamo Kiev central defender, Olexander Holovko, is more optimistic.

"Holovko is getting better and has already resumed training," Volodymyr Veremeyev, Ukraine's assistant coach, said. "But the doctors will have the final say."

The Dynamo captain left the pitch with a knee injury in Sunday's Ukrainian premier division derby with their local rivals, CSKA. At least Ukraine should have no problems in attack with the Milan striker, Andriy Shevchenko, and Serhiy Rebrov certain to spearhead the attack.