Ireland holds Sweden to 0-0 draw in WCup qualifier

Sweden was held to a 0-0 draw by Ireland on Friday to barely

hold on to second place in their World Cup qualifying group.

Ireland dominated the opening period of the game through an

energetic performance from striker Shane Long at Friends Arena. But

Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic slowly led his team back into the

match despite meeting tough resistance from the Irish defense.

The star striker from Paris Saint-Germain produced a couple of

good chances for Sweden in the first half, including a diagonal

pass for striker Tobias Hysen to volley wide in the 22nd

minute.

In the second half, the Swedes lacked tempo and couldn’t find

any rhythm in their passing game. An attempt in the second minute

of stoppage time by midfielder Rasmus Elm to emulate his last-ditch

goal against Germany in Sweden’s come-from-behind 4-4 draw

failed.

Sweden coach Erik Hamren said Ireland successfully ”killed our

intentions.”

”Of course I am disappointed,” Hamren said. ”I think we

deserved at least one goal to win this game.”

However, Hamren commended his players for preventing the

visitors from failing to create even ”a single chance at a goal in

90 minutes.”

Hysen was playing his second game with the national team, this

time in place of the injured Johan Elmander. Hysen conceded Sweden

played ”carelessly at times” and missed simple passes.

Sweden has eight points in Group C from four matches. Germany

leads with 13 points from five games. Ireland and Austria are next

with seven points from four matches.