Ireland suffer hammer blow
Veteran Anders Svensson left the Republic of Ireland's World Cup hopes in tatters as he marked his record-equalling 143rd appearance for Sweden with a precious winner. The 37-year-old midfielder, who matched Thomas Ravelli's leading caps total for their country at the Aviva Stadium, fired home from Zlatan Ibrahimovic's slide-rule 57th-minute pass to help the Swedes complete a stirring comeback in front of a packed house. It had started so well for Ireland when Robbie Keane blasted them ahead with 22 minutes gone, the 60th goal of his senior international career.
Giovanni Trapattoni's men will head for Austria on Tuesday night knowing nothing short of victory will give them any chance of wrestling back a chance of snatching second place in Group C, and even them they might have to do something special away to runaway leaders Germany to achieve it. Keane had admitted in the run up to the game that the double-header against the Swedes and the Austrians would make or break Ireland's campaign, and he and his team-mates emerged from the tunnel in determined mood.
For the best part of half an hour, excepting a couple of minor scares, they largely held sway and looked the more likely to break the deadlock. Shane Long, challenged by assistant manager Marco Tardelli during the week to improve his finishing, might have provided the perfect riposte within a minute of the kick-off only for full-back Martin Olsson to make a brave block after defender Richard Dunne had headed down Seamus Coleman's free-kick for the striker.
Glenn Whelan thumped a shot from distance into Swedish keeper Andreas Isaksson's midriff after slicing an earlier effort wide, and Jon Walters drove past the post in an encouraging start by the home side.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at Teamtalk.comSimilar Stories