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WC Qualification Europe

  • March 22, 2013
  • • 19:45
  • • Friends Arena, Solna
  • Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
  • • Attendance: 49436
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Sweden-Republic of Ireland Preview: Youthful Boys in Green face difficult task in crunch World Cup qualifier

Sweden-Republic of Ireland Preview: Youthful Boys in Green face difficult task in crunch World Cup qualifier

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Giovanni Trapattoni's team will seek to regain ground in the battle for second place against Group C rivals Sweden at the Friends Arena

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

SWEDEN

Isaksson
Lustig, Granqvist, J Olsson, Safari
Larsson, Elm, Kallstrom, Wernbloom
Ibrahimovic, Toivonen
IRELAND
 
Forde
Coleman, O'Shea, Clark, Wilson
Brady, Whelan, Green, McClean
Keane, Long

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 The final was staged at the Rasunda Stadium in Solna, which has since been replaced by the Friends Arena as Sweden's national stadium.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.

Players to watch

Z. Ibrahimovic

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
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It almost goes without saying that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be the one-to-watch for Sweden. The Paris Saint-Germain striker is a giant player, both literally and figuratively, something which was exemplified during his virtuoso four-goal performance against England in November 2012.

S. Long

Position: Attacker

Games: 4

  • 1
  • 0
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Given the right service, Shane Long has the ability to cause havoc in the Swedish box. The rapid West Bromich Albion striker is a tenacious attacker and is deceptively strong in the air, meaning he will also be a set-piece threat. He has troubled the best defences in the Premier League and can be the key man for the Boys in Green on Friday.

Editor's Prediction

In their last five games, Sweden conceded a remarkable 10 goals, demonstrating a vulnerability at the back. However, they also lost just one of those games - a narrow 3-2 loss to Argentina. Ireland can take advantage of this vulnerability, but will more than likely have to settle for a draw as they struggle to contain the flamboyance of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kim Kallstrom.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Sweden

Republic of Ireland

Wins
1
2
2
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Sweden SWE
Sweden Sweden
Draw
Republic of Ireland IRL
Republic of Ireland Republic of Ireland
75%
15%

Top 3 Predictions

Sweden SWE
2 - 0
Republic of Ireland IRL
Sweden SWE
3 - 1
Republic of Ireland IRL
Sweden SWE
2 - 1
Republic of Ireland IRL

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