Djurgardens If 0 West Ham 0

West Ham ended their brief tour of Scandinavia with a 0-0 draw against Swedish champions Djurgardens IF on Thursday evening.

Having secured a 5-2 win against another Swedish side, Atvidabergs, two days ago, Hammers came up against much tougher opposition this time around - the Stockholm-based outfit achieved a league and cup double last season and are preparing for a Champions' League qualifying match against Partizan Belgrade next week.

Glenn Roeder fielded his strongest available starting line-up, yet that still included inexperienced youngsters Anton Ferdinand, Youssef Sofiane and Richard Garcia - such is the impact that injuries to the likes of Michael Carrick, Steve Lomas and Don Hutchison now have on Hammers' fragile squad.

The game took place in the small Swedish town of Norrtalje, some 80 miles north of Stockholm, as Djurgardens' regular home stadium was being used as a concert arena for the visit of Robbie Williams. Several hundred loyal Hammers fans made the trip, while the club's large Scandinavian following were also in attendance, resulting in an equal split among the 7,052 crowd.

And affairs were just as even on the pitch, as Hammers - displaying an attack-minded 4-3-3 formation that saw Sofiane and Jermain Defoe play off central target man Fredi Kanoute - battled hard against a team who are halfway through their domestic campaign and possessed an understandable higher level of match fitness.

In a scrappy first half of very little goalmouth action, Sofiane almost got his toe to a loose ball that was eventually gathered by Djurgardens' keeper Andreas Isaksson, while at the other end David James had to be alert in the final five minutes of the half. First he tipped a stinging volley over the bar, before striker Geert Den Ouden fired inches wide from the edge of the penalty area.

That was as exciting as it got in the first period, though, with the biggest cheer being reserved for the actions of Djurgardens midfielder Yannick Bapupa, who amazed the crowd with an acrobatic throw-in that saw him perform a somersault on the touchline before releasing an almighty delivery!

Hammers remained unchanged at the start of the second half, while Djurgardens made several changes ahead of their vital European clash next week, and the visitors really should have taken the lead as the Swedes took time to adjust to their reshuffle.

Garcia's clever pass released Defoe on the left, and the young striker looked set to score as he advanced into the penalty area but took just a split-second too long and saw his shot deflected over for a corner.

Eight minutes later, Defoe came even closer, collecting Sofiane's cut-back from the left and turning sweetly before sending in a low 12-yarder that substitute goalkeeper Tourray.

Midway through the second half, Djurgardens introduced former Hammers youth trainee Daniel Sjolund as a substitute and the Finnish midfielder, who left Upton Park to join Liverpool as part of the deal that saw Rigobert Song go the other way in November 2000, played an influential part in the final 20 minutes of the game as Djurgardens grew stronger against their tiring opponents.

Throw-in specialist Bapupa almost broke the deadlock in the 77th minute with a rasping 30-yard drive that beat James before cannoning back off the post, but it was Sjolund who had the greatest chance to condemn his old team-mates to their first defeat of the pre-season build-up.

With just five minutes remaining, a deep cross into the Hammers box was flicked on before dropping at the feet of the young Finn who, with the goal at his mercy, somehow scooped his effort high over the bar. Perhaps he's still a Hammer at heart!

Roeder introduced three substitutes late on, as Shaun Byrne, David Noble and Daryl McMahon replaced Robert Lee, Garcia and Sofiane respectively, meaning that the majority of his senior stars completed their first full 90 minutes of the new campaign.

Whether that can be considered a good thing or a bad thing in the current situation remains to be seen in the coming weeks, as the Hammers boss prays for a clean bill of health from the final two friendlies against Wycombe Wanderers and PSV Eindhoven next week.

However, against a highly motivated and extremely fit side who are already in full flow and have the mouth-watering prospect of Champions' League football to look forward to, Hammers proved this evening that they are ready for the fight when similarly difficult and frustrating encounters crop up in the Nationwide First Division next season.

Hammers: James; Ferdinand, Repka, Dailly, Brevett; Lee (Byrne 78), Garcia (D Noble 78), Cole; Sofiane (McMahon 80), Defoe, Kanoute. Subs not used: McClenahan, Bywater, Forde.

Att: 7,052