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Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 22:53 GMT 23:53 UK
Thank heavens it's the Faroes
Jesper Gronkaer ghosts past Barry Ferguson
Even Barry Ferguson was chasing Danish shadows

It is perhaps fortunate that Scotland begin their quest to qualify for the 2004 European Championships next month in the Faroe Islands.

The game will at least allow the Scots a fighting chance of recording their first competitive win under Berti Vogts, although this is by no means a certainty.

Defeat, and the manner of the defeat, by Denmark will leave Vogts in no doubt that he has a massive task on his hands if Scotland are to have a chance of even finishing second in their qualifying group.

The Danes, a good side whose performance in losing 3-0 to England did them little justice, showed that a small north European country can produce sufficient number of quality football players to comprise a useful national team.

On Wednesday evening, in the first half in particular, the Danes were Scotland's superior in every aspect of the game.

They were fitter, more mobile, passed the ball better and were more inventive than Scotland.

This is, of course, not Vogts' fault, but it is his problem. There was little to suggest against Denmark that Iceland, for instance, will be overcome over the course of the forthcoming campaign.

Scotland's main downfall has for a long time been a lack of goals and, perhaps obviously, a top quality striker.

The most recent incumbents - Kevin Kyle, Steven Thompson and Scott Dobie - have yet to show that they can score regularly at international level.

Of course, to score, one needs service and that too was lacking from the Scots against Denmark.

While the Danes spread the ball wide at will and provided countless dangerous crosses, Scotland were persistently frustrated on the wings and their one shot on target came after Kyle had chipped the ball through the middle of the Danish defence.

That the midfield partnership of Barry Ferguson and Paul Lambert has promise is unquestionable, but even these cultured footballers spent more time chasing and harrying opponents than they did on the ball.

Scotland were also guilty of stupid mistakes at the back and the experienced centre-half pairing of Christian Dailly and Davie Weir were caught out too often.

The Faroe Islands are not Denmark, however.

And, having had 90 minutes together, this team is surely capable of beating the Danes' smaller neighbours.

Promising signs came from Kevin McNaughton and Gary Naysmith, who showed as much desire and drive as anyone in a blue shirt, while Maurice Ross did a difficult man-marking job on Jon Dahl Tomasson as well as could be expected.

But Vogts will require better performances throughout the team if Portugal 2004 is to be a realistic ambition.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Ian Brown
"Scotland weren't at the races"
Scotland boss Berti Vogts
"I am very disappointed"
All the international action

Wednesday's games
See also:

20 Aug 02 | Football
21 Aug 02 | Scotland
20 Aug 02 | Scotland
19 Aug 02 | Scotland
19 Aug 02 | Scotland
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