Republic of Ireland, Sweden draw in entertaining encounter

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The Republic of Ireland and Sweden played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Stade de France in their Group E opener on Monday.

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Wes Hoolahan gave Ireland the lead at the start of the second half after they dominated the opening 45 minutes, but an own goal from Ciaran Clark leveled things up with 19 minutes to go.

The point sets both teams up in Group E play but with Belgium and Italy their other opponents, they both know tougher times are ahead.

Ireland did plenty of the early pressing and they should’ve gone ahead as Robbie Brady‘s corner was flicked on by Clark but John O'Shea couldn’t quite connect three-yards out at the back post with the goal gaping.

The Irish continued to push and Brady drilled a right-footed effort a yard over the bar as Sweden couldn’t get out of their own half. Jeff Hendrick then curled a beautiful shot against the crossbar and out from distance. It was all Ireland.

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Sweden failed to settle down in the first half with Ibrahimovic non-existent and dropping deep to try and get on the ball.

Two minutes into the second half Ireland grabbed a deserved lead as Seamus Coleman charged into the box and clipped over a perfect ball for Hoolahan who smashed home impressively on the turn.

That goal sparked Sweden into life as Ibrahimovic had a shot deflected wide and Emil Forsberg then sent an effort horribly wide after Darren Randolph had made a fine stop from close range.

Ibrahimovic saw more of the ball as the second half wore on and on the hour mark he volleyed just wide as Ireland’s fans held their breath.

The equalizer arrived in the 71st minute as that man Zlatan ran into the box and his teasing cross was headed into his own net by Clark. 1-1.

Ireland almost immediately went back ahead but Hendrick’s shot was pushed out by Andreas Isaksson and then Robbie Keane came on to try and grab a late winner for the Irish.

Late on Martin Olsson drilled a cross into the box and Ibrahimovic just couldn’t get on the end of it as the game finished even without Sweden having a shot on target.