Hopes were high in Sweden after the “miracle in Berlin”, when the national team achieved an impressive four-goal comeback to salvage a 4-4 draw against Germany, including a stunning goal off a header by captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 62nd minute.
But Friday’s match was unspectacular, with few goal chances for Sweden, a poor passing game and a tame offense.
The top moment of the first half came when Alexander Kacaniklic picked up speed and found Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who nodded the ball over to a quick-thinking Tobias Hysén. But Ireland’s goalie David Forde successfully blocked it.
The Swedish team got close to scoring three points when, with just seconds left in overtime, striker Rasmus Elm nearly snatched a victory with a confident shot at the goal.
Coach Erik Hamrén was disappointed, telling Sweden’s Channel 5 that “overall, we fought well, but we did not reach the level we had hoped for”.
“We have an opponent that is very skilful at killing our intentions,” Hamrén said of the Irish team.
After winning 3-0 against Kazakhstan, Germany is now five points ahead of Sweden in Group C, leaving Sweden in second place.
For the Republic of Ireland, their hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil received a much-needed boost in Stockholm. The team claimed a valuable point in Friday’s match.
Ireland are now in third place in Group C, one point behind Sweden. Next week, they face Austria in a home game, while Sweden will take on Austria on June 7th.
Sweden will also face Slovakia in a friendly on Tuesday.
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