The first half was all Ireland. Not only did the Irish get chance after chance against Sweden but they also did a great job of keeping the ball away from Sweden’s most dangerous player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Irish finally got their breakthrough just after halftime courtesy of Wes Hoolahan. The goal seemed to wake Sweden up and immediately the field shifted in favor of Sweden. The Swedes got several great chances but couldn’t capitalize.
More importantly though, the Swedes started getting the ball to Zlatan and not surprisingly immediately looked more dangerous. You knew Zlatan would put his stamp on this match. It came in the 71st minute when Ibrahimovic got the ball inside the Ireland box. He drove sharply towards the end line beating John O’Shea and firing in a cross. The pressure and speed of the play forced Ireland defender Ciaren Clark to react quickly, he got his head on it but couldn’t control where the header went, which was the back of his own net.