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Sweden v Ireland: Here's everything you need to know about tonight's opposition

There’s more to them than Zlatan, you know.

The Swedish team which started against France at Euro 2012.
The Swedish team which started against France at Euro 2012.
Image: Martin Meissner/AP/Press Association Images

AHEAD OF IRELAND’S World Cup qualifier at the Friends Arena, we take a look at their opponents…

How have the done in the qualifying campaign so far?

Sweden lie second in Group C, one point ahead of Ireland and three off leaders Germany, after two wins and a draw. They recorded a fairly routine 2-0 win over Kazakhstan in their opening fixture in Stockholm but had to wait until injury time to put the result beyond doubt with a second goal.

That was followed by a less convincing victory away to the Faroe Islands. Having conceded in the 57th minute, Fulham midfielder Alexander Kacaniklic came off the bench to pull them level before talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic rescued the three points with 15 minutes remaining.

One of the most bizarre results in the country’s history was witnessed at Berlin’s Olympiastadion in October. Sweden were 4-0 down and staring defeat in the face with a half hour on the clock after being run ragged by Jochim Low’s side. However, when Ibrahimovic scored what looked to be a consolation, it sparked an incredible comeback which saw the game end in a 4-4 draw after further strikes from Mikael Lustig, Johan Elmander and Rasmus Elm.


YouTube credit: MrComa83·

Sweden, who have qualified for 11 World Cup finals but missed out on 2010, hold a commanding position for runners-up spot at this early stage but Ireland would overtake them with a win this evening.

Who is the manager?

55-year-old Erik Hamren took over from Lars Lagerback after the failure to progress in 2010 and the former Rosenborg boss was successful in leading them to Euro 2012 finals – where they went out of the group stages.

Credit: Martin Meissner/AP/Press Association Images

Who has made the starting line-up for tonight’s game?

Andreas Isaksson – Former Manchester City goalkeeper, who now plies his trade in Turkey with Kasimpasa in Turkey.

Mikael Lustig – The Celtic full-back likes to get forward but can be vulnerable in defence.

Andreas Granqvist – Genoa centre-half who had a brief spell with Wigan.

Jonas Olsson – Tough-tackling defender who plays his club football with West Brom.

Behrang Safari – Iranian-born, Anderlecht’s Behrang Safari is an attacking left-sided full-back.

Sebastian Larsson – Sunderland regular Larsson is an excellent crosser of the ball and takes Sweden’s set-pieces.

Kim Kallstrom – Now with Spartak Moscow, Kallstrom will anchor the midfield.

Rasmus Elm – 25-year-old Elm, also playing in Russia with CSKA Moscow, offers a goalscoring threat.

Alezander Kacaniklic – Fulham’s young winger has made an impact in Martin Jol’s side this season with his exciting style of play.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Needs little introduction, he’s Sweden’s captain and stand out player. Will sit in behind the main striker.

Tobias Hysen – Son of former Liverpool player Glenn, Hysen gets the nod as centre forward ahead of Ola Toivonen.

What formation are they likely to play?

It’s looking like a 4-2-3-1 with Ibrahimovic just off Hysen, the two wingers, supported by the full-backs, getting forward as much as possible and two deep lying midfielders screening the defence.

Where will their goals come from?

While Hysen is far from prolific, Elm and Ibrahimovic both have two goals so far in the current campaign but Larsson and Kacaniklic are also capable of contributing.

10 ways Ireland must try to stop Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Poll: How many points will Ireland get out of their next two games?

About the author:

Ben Blake

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