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'A different kind of match': Sweden arrive expecting Ireland to open up and play

Swedish boss Erik Hamren wants his team to exploit space behind the Irish defence.

Hamren: "We’ll have it a little more difficult defensively."
Image: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

SWEDEN MANAGER ERIK Hamren expects tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier against Ireland to be more open than the sides’ Stockholm stalemate.

Chances were few and far between in the 0-0 draw at the Friends Arena in March with David Forde marginally the busier goalkeeper on his competitive international debut.

Ireland, Sweden and Austria are now only separated by goal difference in the race for Group C’s second place, making the rematch in the Aviva Stadium one which neither side can afford to lose.

But with just four games remaining, both know that a win would give them a massive advantage in the run-in.

“I expect a different kind of match to the one in Stockholm, a more open game,” Hamren said at his pre-match press conference in Dublin.

“I hope we’ll be able to find the space in behind them to play the ball into.

“[Ireland] will hopefully open up a little more, opening up space for us, but then that means we’ll have it a little more difficult defensively.

If we play as we should and we have trained, we want to keep the distance between the parts of the team the same wherever we are on the pitch, whether we press high or not.

We don’t want them coming at our central defenders facing the right way with the ball. Every team wants to get the ball into that area.

Asked why Sweden have struggled to cope in physical games, Hamren dismissed the suggestion that his side might underestimate a tough-tackling Ireland.

“You can forget that. That never happens at this level. Maybe in a friendly, but not in a competitive game.

“There is a huge pressure on players to do their best to win, and sometimes that means that they want to do too much, but you can forget [the idea] that the players aren’t prepared or that they don’t want to win.”

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Niall Kelly

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