Saturday 10 December 2016

'The future is bright' - Five things we learned from Ireland's draw with Sweden

John Brennan

Published 13/06/2016 | 19:49

13 June 2016; Wes Hoolahan of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's first goal with team-mate Robbie Brady, left, during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France in Saint Denis, Paris, France. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
13 June 2016; Wes Hoolahan of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's first goal with team-mate Robbie Brady, left, during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France in Saint Denis, Paris, France. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

A deeper look a what can be garnered for Ireland's 1-1 stalemate against Sweden in the Stade de France.

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1. Panic stations after Hoolahan wonder-strike

Why do Irish football teams panic when we actually score? The only period of this match for which Ireland were uncomfortable were the 23 minutes between our goal and the Swedish equaliser.

We lost our shape, conceded possession softly and generally invited Sweden onto us. Then as soon as it went to 1-1, Ireland began to dominate again and play as they had in the first half.

2.  Mixed bag from Coleman

Maybe it was because he was very nervous a full four years after he should have played at a Euros, but Seamus Coleman had a poor first half by his standards. The Killybegs man was much better in the second period. Perhaps Martin O'Neill's warning words about Sweden's left winger, Emil Forsberg, inhibited Coleman for a while.

3. Future is bright for Ireland

In Robbie Brady, James McCarthy and Jeff Hendrick, Ciaran Clark, Richard Keogh and Shane Duffy, Ireland have the beating heart of our future international sides. We'll lose a few stalwarts over the next few years, but those guys, and the likes of Jack Byrne and Callum O'Dowda, will step up.

4. Sweden are no great shakes

Sweden are exactly what we suspected they are, an average side if their superstar is not on a going night. And the 'Legend' wasn't last night. No more than Ireland, Belgium and Italy will look forward to feasting on this Swedish side. We certainly have a big shot at getting at least third in this group.

5. Irish supporters in a league of their own

Our supporters produced another great night to add to their legend. There were thousands of them in the Stade de France and many ticketless more in the bars of Paris. Well done Irishmen, women and children, that's how to enjoy a great football occasion. See half of you in Bordeaux on Saturday, because the ground only holds 42,000 fans.

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