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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Hamren surprised by long-ball tactics as Sweden leave with a smile

“We have 24 hours to enjoy it and be proud of ourselves,” Sweden boss Erik Hamren said after tonight’s 2-1 win in Dublin.

A familiar sight in the Aviva Stadium tonight.
A familiar sight in the Aviva Stadium tonight.
Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

IF YOU WALKED in off the street without knowing the result, Erik Hamren’s cheery mood in his post-match press conference told you everything you needed to know.

Job done. Sweden leave with the three points they came for and a stranglehold on the race for Group C’s runner-up spot.

“We had a really important victory today so it’s a better situation for us of course with three points here,” Hamren said.

“You have to win the games remaining but we are happy today and we have 24 hours to enjoy it and be proud of ourselves. Then we focus on the next game because as you saw when Ireland were in Kazakhstan, it’s not that easy.”

Anders Svensson’s 57th-minute strike proved to be the decisive one as Ireland reverted to long balls in an attempt to force an equaliser.

“I was a little bit surprised with how [Ireland] played,” Hamren admitted afterwards.

They way they had been playing in the last six, seven, eight months was a more passing game and more through the midfield.

Today it was a lot of long balls. They were good at that and we had problems with that, especially in the first 20 minutes. We managed to defend those balls a little bit better in the rest of the game.

He added: “We expected Ireland to be aggressive and more offensive than in Stockholm. I think the problem was that when we won the ball, we lost it almost immediately in the beginning of the game. After Ireland scored, I think we had a good game for the rest of the match and had some really good chances.

“We had the fight and the attitude I wanted to see if you take away the first 20 minutes. We had some problems but after that we showed the attitude and strength in the team.”

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Niall Kelly

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