6 Things We Learned From Republic Of Ireland 1-1 Sweden

Sweden Really Are All About Zlatan

This Sweden team really aren’t great. They rely heavily on the presence of their pony-tailed striker and it’s hardly a shock when you see that he was involved in 74 per cent of the team’s goals in qualifying.

Nevertheless, it was still a shock just how poor they looked against an Ireland team that looked hungry and up for the fight.

Sweden just didn’t really get going. Zlatan looked In the mood and held the ball well when it was played up to him but he had very little going on around him and even he can’t make things happen totally on his own. He was marshalled superbly by the Irish defence.  Ibra ended up dropping deeper and deeper just to get involved. The one time he wriggled free he created the Swedish equaliser. That's what he does.


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Jeff Hendrick Can Be the Beating Heart Of A Successful Irish Campaign 

The Derby man hasn’t even been a constant in the Rams team but he grasped his chance to sow what he is all about here.

His display resembled that of a young Frank Lampard as he rampaged around the pitch and hunted the ball down constantly, forcing the Swedes to go long to a growingly frustrated Ibrahimovic.

His main contribution was his late arrivals on the edge of the area, one that saw him nearly Isaakson while his ability to hit the ball from range saw him crash one against the bar. His energy and drive is just what the Irish midfield needs to drag them through this tournament.


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The Set Piece Is Alive And Well At Euro 2016

The set piece is often derided as something that lesser teams rely on, more at home in League Two than on the international stage. However, the amount of potentially game changing moments and chances that have originated from corners and free-kicks so far is interesting.

People spoke of how this tournament may have let too many weaker teams into the draw but what we are seeing is that there are not great differences between many of the teams in the Championships. So much so that set pieces become crucial.

England and Wales both scored from free-kicks, Giroud and Schar scored from balls into the box. Here. John O’Shea missed a glorious opportunity for the Irish from a corner when they were really on top, it could have been crucial. Fine margins matter at international level and set pieces are proving the finest.


The Irish Messi Finally Gets The Recognition He Deserves 

Talk to Norwich fans and they will tell you that Wes Hoolahan is the most underrated player in England. They may just be right.

Your author is a massive fan of the wily playmaker, who amazingly is 34 years of age. He is a wonderful footballer who glides into pockets of space and causing endless problems for the opposition. If he had been nurtured in Spain he’d be much more loved than he is.

So it was great to see his score a quite wonderful goal as he showed technique that rivalled that of Luka Modric yesterday to put Ireland ahead.