Euro 2016 Grp E
Date: 5 p.m. June 13, 2016
Venue: Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Att: 73,419

Wesley Hoolahan 48' -
Scored: 48'

OG: 71'
- Ciaran Clark 71'

Euro 2016 Report: Republic of Ireland 1 - 1 Sweden

Mon, Jun 13 2016

Credit: Al Robinson

Report from Dave Donnelly at Stade de France.


Ciaran Clark turned the ball past his own goalkeeper to ensure Sweden earned a share of the spoils in a topsy-turvy Group D opener at the Stade de France.


It was a result the Republic of Ireland would have taken before kick-off – despite Martin O'Neill's pronouncement he was sending his team out to win – but particularly galling in the manner in which the lead was surrendered.


O'Neill's men retreated into their shell in the second half, having finally turned their superiority into a goal through Wes Hoolahan just after the break, as they struggled to deal with the pace and skill of Martin Olsson and Emil Forsberg on the Swedish left.


It had been a first half devoid of much real action, as Ireland easily nullified the threat of Zlatan Ibrahimovic & Co, and made the most of their forays forward as Robbie Brady's set pieces proved a particular challenge to the Swedish rearguard.


An hour before kick-off, it could have appeared as if there was only one side with a travelling support set to play, as large pockets of yellow dotted the stands.


Irish fans were less eager to arrive before the real action began, but by the time six o'clock approached, the stadium had filled up in two roughly equal halves of green and yellow.


The game quickly settled into a pattern of play where first-day nerves took hold and neither side worked particularly hard to win the ball, nor did they seek to take risks when they got control of it.


On the occasion either team did press, they usually forced mistakes, as a poor kick from Randolph half-way through the first half proved, however Sweden didn't display the quality or daring to punish the error.


While Sweden had the better of the early play, Ireland were creating the more fully-formed chances, and the threat of Robbie Brady's left boot from set-piece situations was causing Sweden real difficulty.


After one free-kick delivery forced an excellent defensive header from Benfica's Victory Lindelof, Brady again aimed for Shane Long, and John O'Shea was inches away from connecting with the flick-on for what should have been the game's opening goal.


Another outswinging Brady corner caused more panic at the back for the Swedes, and O'Shea seemed to have somewhat of a case when he claimed to be pushed by Andreas Granqvist, though it would have been surprising to see a penalty given.


Jeff Hendrick was another looking particularly lively for the Irish. He forced an early routine save from Isaaksson with a half-volley, before cracking the crossbar with a wonderful effort just after the half-hour.


Sweden's caution, while signposted in the play-off win over Denmark, was surprising, and Ibrahimovic was forced to drop deep into midfield to get on the ball, and frequently found no runners ahead of him.


A reminder of his danger came shortly before half-time, when Ireland only half-cleared a Swedish corner, and Lindelof's flick found the PSG striker, but he couldn't keep his first-time volley down.


The Irish fans applauded their team off the field at half time, while there was little reaction from the Swedish fans, who had seen their team enjoy a lot of the ball without creating anything of note.


Sweden lost Celtic's Mikael Lustig on the stroke of half-time, necessitating more change as Lindelof moved across to right-back and Erik Johansson, and it was from the same side that Hoolahan strode in to rifle home two minutes into the second period.


It came about as a result of a deliberate attempt by Ireland to up the tempo, the first example of which came within a minute as Jeff Hendrick again found space on the edge of the box and forced a smart save.


Ireland continued to pile on the pressure and, after Martin O'Neill had assisted in a quick throw for Brady, the ball found its way to Coleman.


The Everton defender, who had a tough time defensively dealing with the marauding Martin Olsson, twisted and turned before clipping the ball into space in the box, and Hoolahan made no mistake with a first-time volley on his weaker foot.


The goal seemed to stun the Swedes into action and, for the first time in the game, they looked capable of creating problems for the Irish defenders to deal with, Randolph pulled off a magnificent full-stretch stop after a corner deflected off Clark.


Sweden continued to pour forward but Ireland were just about able to deal with the pressure, but the swing in momentum was tangible, if not quite yet on the scoreboard.


That was to change with 19 minutes remaining as Ibrahimovic was allowed a rare pocket of space around the box and, after latching on to Forsberg's pass, he crossed and Ciaran Clark inadvertently turned the ball past Randolph.


It was a bitter blow for Ireland to endure after having had to work so hard for a goal of their own, but it had been on the cards for some time as Ireland rode their luck increasingly in the final third.


Ireland responded well and Hendrick, again, forced a save from Isaaksson from close range within seconds of the resumption, and Martin O'Neill introduced Robbie Keane and Aiden McGeady for a tired Hoolahan and James McCarthy.


Ibrahimovic could have stolen a shock win for Sweden had he been able to get his foot to the excellent Olsson's late cross-shot, but on reflection the draw was the fairest result.


Republic of Ireland: Darren Randolph; Seamus Coleman, John O'Shea, Ciaran Clark, Robbie Brady; Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy (Aiden McGeady 84), Jeff Hendrick, Wes Hoolahan (Robbie Keane 78); Jonathan Walters (James McClean 63), Shane Long.

Subs not used: Keiren Westwood (gk), Shay Given (gk), Richard Keogh, Cyrus Christie, Shane Duffy, Stephen Ward, David Meyler, Stephen Quinn, Daryl Murphy.

Booked: James McCarthy (43), Glenn Whelan (77).


Sweden: Andreas Isaaksson; Mikael Lustig (Erik Johansson 45), Andreas Granqvist, Victor Lindelof, Martin Olsson; Sebastian Larsson, Kim Kallstrom, Emil Forsberg, Oscar Lewicki (Albin Ekdal 86); Marcus Berg (John Guidetti 59), Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Subs not used: Robin Olsen (gk), Patrik Carlgren (gk), Albin Ekdal, Pontus Jansson, Oscar Hiljemark, Pontus Welbloom, Ludwig Augustinsson, Emir Kujovic, Jimmy Durmaz, Erkan Zengin.

Booked: Victor Lindelof (61).


Referee: Milorad Mazic (Serbia).

Attendance: 73,419 Player of the Match: Martin Olsson (Sweden).


You can see Al Robinson's pictures from the game here.

Republic of Ireland
Darren Randolph
John O'Shea
Séamus Coleman
Ciaran Clark
71OG: 71'
Robbie Brady
Glenn Whelan
77Booked: 77'
James McCarthy
43Booked: 43'
84Subbed Off: 84'
Wesley Hoolahan
48Scored: 48'
78Subbed Off: 78'
Jeff Hendrick
Jonathan Walters
63Subbed Off: 63'
Shane Long

Kieren Westwood
Stephen Ward
Stephen Quinn
Daryl Murphy
David Meyler
Aiden McGeady
84Subbed On: 84'
James McClean
63Subbed On: 63'
Richard Keogh
Robbie Keane
78Subbed On: 78'
Shay Given
Shane Duffy
Cyrus Christie
Andreas Isaksson
Andreas Granqvist
Mikael Lustig
Defender 45'
45Subbed Off: 45'
Martin Olsson
Emil Forsberg
Kim Kallstrom
Sebastian Larsson
Oscar Lewicki
Midfielder 86'
86Subbed Off: 86'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Marcus Berg
Forward 59'
59Subbed Off: 59'

Oscar Hiljemark
John Guidetti
59Subbed On: 59'
Albin Ekdal
86Subbed On: 86'
Jimmy Durmaz
Patrik Carlgren
Ludwig Augustinsson
Pontus Jansson
Erik Johansson
45Subbed On: 45'
Emir Kujovic
Victor Lindelof
61Booked: 61'
Robin Olsen
Pontus Wernbloom
Erkan Zengin

Photo Gallery for Republic of Ireland -v- Sweden