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



Lustig, Granqvist, J Olsson, Safari
Larsson, Elm, Kallstrom, Wernbloom
Ibrahimovic, Toivonen
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.

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 The final was staged at the Rasunda Stadium in Solna, which has since been replaced by the Friends Arena as Sweden's national stadium.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

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 1 hour 35 minutes ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners 2 hours 31 minutes ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • Why you can't buy America's greenest car 5 hours ago
    Why you can't buy America's greenest car

    Ask me or any auto expert what's the fastest car you can buy for any given amount, and we could easily cough up several options. Same for most luxurious, or off-roadable, or any other measurement. Yet there's one type of question that's far harder to answer: What's the greenest, most environmentally friendly car you can buy today?

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania
    McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.