Our match prediction:
Buoyed by a 3-0 win over Wales, Sweden square off against Republic of Ireland at the start of their Euro 2016 campaign. The Nordic side did defeat Chris Coleman’s men in Solna, but you should bear in mind that the Dragons were without Real Madrid ace Gareth Bale and several other first-team regulars. The Boys in Green, on the other hand, are on a three-match winless run ahead of Monday’s football game against Sweden, but, as always, Martin O’Neill’s men are going to leave their hearts on the field. Southampton attacker Shane Long is certainly capable of making life difficult for the opposition defenders and given Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s brilliant form, we predict that both teams will score in the Stade de France showdown. When the two teams met in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers Sweden recorded a 2-1 win over Republic of Ireland.
Highligted Player (Long):
Shane Long is an Irish international striker who has so far made over 60 appearances for the Republic of Ireland national team, scoring more than 15 goals in the process. The forward began his professional career at Cork City, but only made one league appearance for the club ahead of the switch to Reading, where he would go on to spend next seven years. During that time, Long established himself as one of the best Irish strikers plying their trade in England, and also went on to represent West Bromwich Albion, Hull City and Southampton. Despite not exactly boasting an enviable goalscoring record for a centre forward, Long was always held in high regard by both managers and his peers, with his incredible work rate and never-say-die attitude winning him plenty of admirers. Long will also go down as one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the Republic of Ireland national team, which he represented at the Euro 2012 and Euro 2016 finals.
Highlighted Team (Sweden):
Sweden are the most successful Nordic side on international stage having been present at major competitions since 1934. Blagult missed out on the 1952 World Cup trophy on home soil as they were beaten by star-studded Brazil side, while they finished in third place at the 1950 and 1994 tournaments, and finishing fourth on their second appearance in 1938. As far as their European Championship record is concerned, Sweden also achieved their best result in front of home fans, reaching the last four in 1992, and they have since reached the quarter-finals at Euro 1994 in Portugal. Anders Svensson and Thomas Ravelli are team’s most capped players with over 140 appearances each, but it is strikers Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic that will go down as the most famous Swedish footballers in history. The later also leads the goalscoring charts with over 60 strikes for the national team and he is widely regarded as one of the most colourful characters, not only in Scandinavia, but in world football.