Danes hoping for more good Vibe against Portugal

By Philip O'Connor
Rio Ave's goalkeeper Cassio (L) tries to catch the ball as IFK Goteborg's Lasse Vibe (C) tries to score, chased by Rio Ave's Prince-Desire Gouano during their Europa League qualifying round soccer match at Ullevi stadium in Gothenburg July 31, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Johansson/ TT News Agency

By Philip O'Connor

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Substitute Lasse Vibe netted his first international goal to earn Denmark a point away to Albania on Saturday, and if he can do the same at home to Portugal on Tuesday could become a regular starter for Morten Olsen's side.

The introduction of Vibe, who tops the scoring charts in the Swedish league with 20 goals for IFK Gothenburg, turned the game in the Danes' favour.

The match against Portugal promises to be a sterner challenge but Vibe is confident of making a similar impact.

"I'm in good form and have good self-confidence, and as a rule the balls are falling for me," he told reporters, adding that he didn't expect his goal against Albania to guarantee him a start against Portugal.

"That will depend on the type of game it is," the 27-year-old said.

For Vibe and his Danish team mates, their task is helped by Cristiano Ronaldo's knee injury which has cast a doubt over his participation in the Group I clash.

Having suffered a shock defeat in their opening game at home to Albania, Portugal will not be content to sit back and defend when they visit the Danish capital, which should suit the attack-minded Vibe.

The two sides know each other well, having met five times in the last six years, including the qualifying campaigns for the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 -- with each side registering two victories and a solitary draw.

Vibe's second-half strike partner in Albania, Nicklas Bendtner, netted five goals in those five games but despite creating the opening for Vibe's equaliser against Albania with a mazy run, looked otherwise subdued.

Ronaldo has been in phenomenal goal-scoring form for Real Madrid at the start of the season, but scored only twice in those encounters, though the Danes will still need to keep a close eye on him should he overcome his injury doubt.

Denmark top the five-team group on four points, ahead of Albania courtesy of scoring more goals. Serbia, who host Albania on Tuesday, and Armenia both have one point after drawing earlier on Saturday.

Portugal are bottom of the group having lost to Albania in their only game so far.

(Editing by Tom Hayward)