Monday, June 17, 2024

Sweden v Republic of Ireland: All you need to know

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Tuesday, 4 June

Women’s EURO 2025 qualifier

League A Group 3

Sweden v Republic of Ireland, Friends Arena, 5.30pm

TV

Live coverage from 5pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.

ONLINE

Live blog on rte.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app with clips on RTÉ Sport social media.

RADIO

Live commentary on an extended Game On with 2fm.

WEATHER

‘Mostly sunny and pleasantly warm’ is the expected weather in Stockholm – although how pleasant it actually is given the projected high temperatures remains to be seen. While it’s set to hit 25 degrees during the day, the evening temperatures are due to fall to about 14 degrees, perhaps to the relief of the away side. A bit of breeze about too, again dying down by kick-off time.

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The first point-first goal chase

“Plenty of fire, not enough ice.”

The words of RTÉ Sport’s Anthony Pyne in the wake of Ireland’s defeat to Sweden at the Aviva Stadium on Friday as Eileen Gleeson’s side spurned a couple of glorious chances before being ruthlessly punished by their opponents.

Lily Agg and Amber Barrett were the main guilty parties in Dublin, albeit not the only ones, as the harsh realities of playing against the top sides were emphatically delivered once again.

The games against France, England and the Swedes have resulted in no points and, worryingly, no goals. That statistic takes on further life with every passing game, even if Gleeson is saying it’s not something that is bothering the squad too much.

If Sweden at home was viewed as the best chance of points, then Tuesday’s game in Stockholm offers little to suggest that either the wait for points or a goal can be ended given what occurred at the Aviva.

Lily Agg reacts to a missed chance against Sweden

Peter Gerhardsson’s side can be confident of a shut-out; they don’t concede too much on their own turf.

Over their last 10 home games, dating back to an out-of-character 3-3 draw with Norway last year, they have conceded only nine goals – or six over their last nine games if that Scandinavian derby is disregarded.

Only two teams have beaten them in Sweden during that run, the first and third sides in the world rankings – Spain and France.

Across Ireland’s three group games to date, Gleeson’s side have had six shots on target.

More ice required.

Irish injury concerns

One thing we know for sure is that Denise O’Sullivan is definitely out, with the classy misfielder suffering a knee injury on duty with North Carolina Courage in America, but Gleeson has some other worries ahead of their fourth group game.

An ankle problem kept Ruesha Littlejohn out of Friday night’s defeat, but she has travelled with the team and took part in an open training session on Monday.

Eileen Gleeson has a few injury worries ahead of the Sweden game

Katie McCabe, who didn’t look fully comfortable towards the end of the Sweden game, also took part in the session while Megan Campbell trained on her own but is expected to play some part.

Sweden too are far from full strength with Stina Blackstenius, Amanda Ilestedt, Lina Hurtig and Rebecka Blomqvist absent currently.

A one-sided rivalry

Tuesday’s match will be the 10th meeting between the Republic of Ireland and Sweden and it’s the latter who easily hold sway, having won eight with two draws in there too – their first meeting in 1988 and the 2022 World Cup qualifier in Gothenburg.

It also brings back into focus Ireland’s worst ever result, a 10-0 Euro 1993 Qualifier loss in Boras with Anneli Andelén scoring four times for Sweden.

The Ireland team ahead of their first meeting with Sweden at Dalymount Park in 1988

The home match was a much tighter affair in those 1992 contests, Sweden winning by a single goal in Dublin with a crowd of 700 present. How things have changed in that regard since.

How the group is shaping up

Ireland, as expected pre-qualifying, look dead certs to finish bottom of the group but the other three teams have plenty to play for as we enter the second half.

While Sweden were winning 3-0 in Dublin, Elisa de Almeida and Marie-Antoinette Katoto were scoring either side of the break to give France control of the group following a 2-1 win over England at St James’ Park.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto fires home France’s winner against England

The French now have a five-point buffer at the top following three wins from three with Sweden and England both claiming a win, loss and a draw in their first three games.

With Sweden expected to pick up three more points against the Republic of Ireland, England really need to be getting some sort of result in Saint-Étienne on Tuesday.

Fail to do that, and they’ll have a real battle with Sweden for that final automatic qualification spot.

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