Bendtner wins fitness battle
Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner looks set to feature in Denmark's Group H clash with rivals Norway on Saturday after the ankle injury he suffered in training was revealed to be not as bad as first feared.
Bendtner hobbled out of training earlier this week and was originally expected to miss the trip to Oslo. Nicklas Pedersen and Simon Kjaer are also fitness doubts ahead of the match which, if the Danes win, would see them leapfrog both Portugal and Norway into pole position in the group.
Norway currently hold that position, but their hope of a similar injury boost concerning one of their main strikers was not forthcoming. John Carew, currently on loan at Stoke City, has failed in his race to be fit for the match after suffering with back problems.
"I am sad to miss this important international," The former Valencia forward told the Norwegian Football Association's official website. "I've done all I can to recover in time, but unfortunately the match comes just a little too early for me."
Denmark's coach Morten Olsen has encouraged his team to play attacking football so far in the qualifiers, and is keen to continue that against the Norwegians. "We are a team that likes to play football and that is good in the position of the game," he said. "We will not change anything just because we will face Norway. We will play our kind of football, they will play their kind of football."
Elsewhere in Group H, the bottom two meet as Cyprus host Iceland. The Cypriots are fourth in the group with one point, which they earned with a shock 4-4 draw in Portugal, while Iceland have lost all three qualifiers so far.
Despite their preparations being hit with a number of injuries to key personnel - with captain Ioannis Okkas and top scorer Michael Constantinou both major doubts for the game - Cyprus coach Angelos Anastasiades believes they can beat Iceland and start looking up instead of down.
"We are facing a team that relies on its running game and on discipline," he said. "We have tough injuries, but I believe all of us who are here know what we have to do."