Euro 2016: Ireland vs Sweden… Live!

by | Jun 12, 2016

We briefly mentioned on our preview podcast that one of the defining features of this tournaments is the number of nations with one marquee player. From Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal to Adam Lallana and England, it seems to be the way of things that many nations have one superstar accompanied by a supporting cast, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the case of Zweden Ibrahimovic. This one player’s every utterance eclipses every other player in his squad to such an extent their involvement in this summer’s festivities may come to resemble the long-half-forgotten animated Happy Days spin-off “The Fonz & The Happy Days Gang”, with Ibrahimovich in the role, depending on your taste, of either the leather jacketed one himself, or his cartoon dog, Mr Cool. We shall see.

As for Ireland, well, in a group that also contains Belgium and Italy they may already have been written off as also-rans, but Irish football is nothing if not optimistic, and if they can keep Mr Cool quiet for the duration of this afternoon’s match they may consider themselves at a level of something approaching parity with Sweden. So, will Irish eyes be smiling by seven o’clock? Will this be the only hopeless cliche that I utter over the course of the next couple of hours? Tune in to find out.

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Ian June 13, 20164:50 pm

Good afternoon, everybody. It’s Ireland vs Sweden, then, from the Stade de France, and here’s this afternoon’s teams:

Republic of Ireland: Randolph, Coleman, O’Shea, Clark, Brady, McCarthy, Whelan, Hendrick, Hoolahan, Walters, Long.
Substitutes: Westwood, Keogh, McGeady, Keane, McClean, Duffy, Christie, Ward, Meyler, Murphy, Quinn, Given.

Sweden: Isaksson, Lustig, Lindelof, Granqvist, Olsson, Larsson, Lewicki, Kallstrom, Forsberg, Berg, Ibrahimovic.
Substitutes: Olsen, Johansson, Ekdal, Jansson, Hiljemark, Wernbloom, Augustinsson, Kujovic, Guidetti, Durmaz, Zengin, Carlgren.

Ian June 13, 20164:56 pm

So, Ireland return to the scene of the crime, then. It was right here, in November 2009, that Thierry Henry’s Harlem Globetrotter-esque moment knocked them out of the 2010 World Cup finals. Wouldn’t be a bad time to avenge that, now, would it? (Even though the opposition is different, of course.) Anyway, the teams are on the pitch and standing to attention for their national anthems.

Edward June 13, 20164:57 pm

Zlatan there, refusing to sing the Swedish national anthem because it isn’t about him.

Edward June 13, 20165:00 pm

John O’Shea
Makes it such an easy
Game to play

Edward June 13, 20165:02 pm

I do not believe that Mark Lawrenson is really Irish. There. I said it.

Ian June 13, 20165:05 pm

Born in Lancashire and qualified to play for Ireland on account of his grandfather, says Wikipedia, and who am I to argue with that?

Edward June 13, 20165:06 pm

Swedish football supporters are very strong proponents of turning up en masse in national colours. Like the Dutch. And, it seems, the Irish. The inside of the Stade de France looks like an old West Brom away shirt.

Ian June 13, 20165:08 pm

Earlier this afternoon, I ran a poll on whether I should go with “Czechia” or “Czech Republic” as a part of the 200% style guide. Here are the results:

Edward June 13, 20165:12 pm

FACTS AND STATS:

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andreas Isaksson were born on the same day, Saturday 3rd October 1981. The number 1 single in the UK on this day was Prince Charming by Adam and the Ants.

The Irish squad, too, has a pair of astrological twins: Aiden McGeady and Stephen Quinn, born Friday 4th April 1986. Living Doll by Cliff Richard and The Young Ones.

Ian June 13, 20165:14 pm

Jonathan Pearce in the commentary box for the BBC this afternoon, which means that no cliche will be left unturned.

Ian June 13, 20165:18 pm

Ireland should have had the lead, there. A corner from the left flicked on by Clarke, and both O’Shea and Long were sliding in at the far post, but neither of them were able to get on the end of the ball.

Edward June 13, 20165:20 pm

The Republic of Ireland have only ever won one game at a European Championship finals, which was 28 years ago yesterday against England in Stuttgart. Nine of their current squad were not born yet. Their oldest player, Shay Given, was 12 years old.

STATS. FACTS AND STATS.

Edward June 13, 20165:22 pm

Sweden have only once failed to win at least one game at a European Championship finals, which was in 2000. In their group that summer were… Italy and Belgium, in addition to Turkey.

Ian June 13, 20165:26 pm

Halfway through the first half report: Ireland have shaded it so far, and that chance for O’Shea/Long from the corner was comfortably the best of the match, so far. If Zlatan’s reputation didn’t precede him, he’d be just another anonymous player in a fairly anonymous passage of football.

Ian June 13, 20165:32 pm

Another chance for Ireland. Hendrick passes the ball inside from the left and Grady’s shot flashes inches over, twanging against the wire behind the goal that holds it up.

Edward June 13, 20165:34 pm

Would you like to know who Sweden’s all-time top scorer in European Championship finals tournaments is? It is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with 5 goals (1 penalty). Next is Henrik Larsson (4 goals, 1 penalty); then Tomas Brolin (3) and Jan Eriksson (2).

FACTS. FACTS.

Ian June 13, 20165:34 pm

And another one! Hendrick shoots from thirty yards and the ball smacks out off the bar.

Edward June 13, 20165:35 pm

Sweden are all over the place here. Hendrick hits the bar and Zlatan starts to wonder whether or not he still has Papal Infallibility.

Edward June 13, 20165:36 pm

In many ways, this was always going to have much in common with an British league game. All bar one of Ireland’s players are UK based and Sweden are basically England but with technique.

Ian June 13, 20165:42 pm

Another decent chance for Ireland. The ball is whipped in from the left and Long can’t quite get on the end of it.

Edward June 13, 20165:43 pm

When you have a striker called Long, it smacks of a lack of scouting to find him a partner called Short.

Ian June 13, 20165:44 pm

Or Ball.

Ian June 13, 20165:47 pm

Very impressed with this Hendrick boy (I call all players “boy”, now I’m older than any of them). Gets his foot on the ball nicely and gives them a little shape and composure when Ireland are going forward.

Ian June 13, 20165:50 pm

Half-time: Ireland 0-0 Sweden. Sweden have been very leaden footed in this half, so far, and Ireland have looked nice going forward, threatening from set pieces and open play, with the biggest threat coming from those pacy balls in from the left. If they keep plugging away, the goal will come, but Sweden can’t get much less effective than they were in this half.

Ian June 13, 20165:33 pm

Another chance for Ireland. Hendrick passes the ball inside from the left and Brady’s shot flashes inches over, twanging against the wire behind the goal that holds it up.

Ian June 13, 20166:05 pm

Goal! Ireland 1-0 Sweden, and that one had been coming! Wes Hoolahan meets a cross on the half-volley and drives it back across goal into the corner. Ireland lead, and it’s thoroughly well-deserved.

Ian June 13, 20166:07 pm

(Welcome back for the second half, by the way – I was half-way through typing something about my boy Hendrick’s low shot that brought a decent enough sprawling save from Isaksson when the goal came about, forcing me into some furious deleting.)

Edward June 13, 20166:08 pm

Jonathan Pearce sounded more excited then than I have ever heard him. Has he recently discovered an Irish grandfather?

Edward June 13, 20166:10 pm

Forsberg snatched at that opportunity there. Which is a polite way of saying it was dogshit. This is hellzapoppin, I’d forgotten that football could be played at speed because I spent the afternoon watching Spain.

Ian June 13, 20166:10 pm

Almost straight from the restart, a chance for Sweden, though. Kallstrom’s corner is sliced goalwards by John O’Shea and Randolph is forced into a brilliant save, before Forsberg, in front of an almost open goal, blazes the ball well over the bar. Sweden look as though their only route to an equaliser might be from set pieces. They’ve been really poor, so far.

Ian June 13, 20166:16 pm

Substitution for Sweden. Berg off and Guidetti on. They need a bit of a shake-up, in all honesty.

Ian June 13, 20166:18 pm

Chance for Sweden: Olson pings the ball into the penalty area, and Ibrahimovic, almost back to goal, swings the ball narrowly wide of the post. Bit of a warning for Ireland, who’ve gone off the boil a bit since scoring. Exactly an hour played.

Edward June 13, 20166:20 pm

Hold on, which are the ones in green again?

Ian June 13, 20166:22 pm

Jon Walters, who somehow has more grey hair than me, comes off for James McLean.

Ian June 13, 20166:26 pm

Ireland need a second goal before they can relax. Sweden have started to pull their fingers out since the goal, and Ireland don’t want to get themselves into the pickle that England did the other night. Remember: it doesn’t matter how well you play if you don’t close the game out.

Ian June 13, 20166:30 pm

Goal! Ireland 1-1 Sweden! Ibrahimovic crosses from the left and Clark heads through his own goal. (See my message from about three minutes ago)

The ball then goes straight to the other end, where Hendrick’s shot is blocked by Isaksson’s legs.

Edward June 13, 20166:32 pm

Stunning dipping header by Ciaran Clark. It wasn’t at the right end, but it demonstrates both technique and application. Sweden are riding their luck a little, on balance.

Ian June 13, 20166:38 pm

Just get the feeling that Ireland are starting to tire a little. They actually responded quite well to the goal, with three or four minutes of possession (including having the ball in the Swedish goal, although this came several seconds after the referee’s whistle), but they’re on the back foot again. Nine minutes to play.

Ian June 13, 20166:40 pm

Chance for Sweden. Olson on the left-hand side fizzes a low, hard cross over but nobody can quite get on the end of the ball. He’s getting a lot o space on that side of the pitch.

Ian June 13, 20166:42 pm

One thing I missed: Wes Hoolahan – who I can only presume must have been at the point of passing out, considering what I;m about to type – came off with twelve minutes to play for… Robbie Keane! Yes! Robbie Keane!

Elsewhere, James McCarthy comes off for Aidan McGeady.

Also, Ekdal on fr Lewicki, for Sweden.

Ian June 13, 20166:43 pm

One thing I missed: Wes Hoolahan – who I can only presume must have been at the point of passing out, considering what I;m about to type – came off with twelve minutes to play for… Robbie Keane! Yes! Robbie Keane!

Elsewhere, James McCarthy comes off for Aiden McGeady.

Also, Ekdal on for Lewicki, for Sweden.

Ian June 13, 20166:48 pm

Three minutes stoppage-time.

Ian June 13, 20166:53 pm

Full-Time: Ireland 1-1 Zweden: Sweden will probably happier with the draw from that match than Ireland, who dominated play and scored at an excellent time at the start of the second half, but then seemed to lose a little focus until an own-goal brought Sweden back into the game. Two dropped points, perhaps, but there’s no reason why they can’t take considerable heart from a gutsy performance. Belgium and Italy to come – can either of these two teams find something to upset one (or both) of them?