Sweden-Republic of Ireland Preview: Youthful Boys in Green face difficult task in crunch World Cup qualifier
Giovanni Trapattoni's team will seek to regain ground in the battle for second place against Group C rivals Sweden at the Friends Arena
By Ryan Kelly
Lustig, Granqvist, J Olsson, Safari
Larsson, Elm, Kallstrom, Wernbloom
Coleman, O'Shea, Clark, Wilson
Brady, Whelan, Green, McClean
The Republic of Ireland will face Sweden in a crunch World Cup qualification clash at the Friends Arena on Friday, March 22.
Giovanni Trapattoni is unable to call upon the experienced Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne, who has struggled to recover from a recurring groin complaint, but captain Robbie Keane returns to the fold after being rested for the 2-0 friendly victory over Poland in February.
Spartak Moscow winger Aiden McGeady was ruled out of the squad through injury, but a surprise omission from the panel is Wolves striker Kevin Doyle, who was dropped by Trapattoni after a run of poor form at club level.
John O'Shea, meanwhile, looks set to be partnered at centre back by Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark, but Leicester City defender Sean St Ledger is also back in contention for a place in the team.
Sweden will be without the services of Galatasary striker Johan Elmander, while another striker, Alexander Gerndt, opted to withdraw from the squad following the negative reaction to his initial selection. The Young Boys attacker had previously been suspended from the national squad following his conviction for domestic violence.
Erik Hamren has included Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson, as well as Aiden McGeady's Spartak Moscow team-mate Kim Kallstrom, while Paris Saint-Germain talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic will captain the team.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Sweden hosted the World Cup in 1958, where they finished as runners-up, losing 5-2 to Brazil in the final. The final was staged at the Rasunda Stadium in Solna, which has since been replaced by the Friends Arena as Sweden's national stadium.
An outing for Kim Kallstrom against Ireland will take him to the impressive milestone of 100 caps for Sweden.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four goals when Sweden hosted England in the opening game at the Friends Arena in November 2012.
- The two sides last met in March 2006 at Lansdowne Road, in Steve Staunton's first game in charge of the Boys in Green. The Republic of Ireland emerged victorious in a 3-0 win, with Robbie Keane among the goalscorers.
- Ireland and Sweden have met eight times in their history, with Ireland winning three games and Sweden winning four.
Former Ireland player and manager, John Giles made a goal-scoring international debut in the 3-2 friendly victory over Sweden at Dalymount Park in November 1959.
Top 3 Predictions
Sweden 2-0 Ireland Republic
- 19.12 %
Sweden 3-1 Ireland Republic
- 17.16 %
Sweden 2-1 Ireland Republic
- 10.29 %
|World Cup Qualification - Europe (WCQE)||07-Sep-2013||Ireland Republic 1 - Sweden 2|
|World Cup Qualification - Europe (WCQE)||23-Mar-2013||Sweden 0 - Ireland Republic 0|
|06-Mar-2014||Turkey 2 - Sweden 1||FR|
|21-Jan-2014||Iceland 0 - Sweden 2||FR|
|17-Jan-2014||Moldova 1 - Sweden 2||FR|
|20-Nov-2013||Sweden 2 - Portugal 3||WCQE|
|16-Nov-2013||Portugal 1 - Sweden 0||WCQE|
|2||Sean St Ledger||Defender|