A scene reminiscent of the last time these two meant in the Euro’s. Last time it was in France, in 2016 when Wes Holahan made the Irish dare to dream, before the Swedes equalized.
This time Callum Robinson gave them all an excuse to celebrate on the 26th minute. Against the run of play Robinson took the ball passed both Jansson and Lindlelof with a sublime piece of skill before nearly taking the roof off the net with a powerful top corner shot. Despite commentator Martin Tyler advising viewers at home that the Irish were stealing the game, the Irish roar could be felt all around the world. ireland didn’t care , they will take the lead regardless.
To be fair to Sweden, they didn’t deserve to be losing. Quaison was playing a masterclass in controlling the game, hitting the post with one effort on the 36th minute which if it was a few millimetres would of leaving Randolph stranded. Ireland seemed to be shook, maybe more comfortable chasing again as opposed to leading it. Sweden took advantage a bad defensive clearance from Duffy, Sema intercepted and calmly placed the ball in the path of Quaison. Quaison was not off this time, going for power over precision.
Sweden dominated the first half with eight on target and 62% possession with Ireland only managing one, that being Robinsons goal. Second half was a different story as Ireland seemed to fair better against the Swedes a few chances fell there way but alas it was not to be. Despite both teams striving for the win, the second half discussion has to be dominated by Darren Randolphs bizarre decision to chase down a ball near the halfway line. The keeper ran from his goaline to intercept a pass, and it nearly completely backfired.
Randolph lost the ball and then fouled Isak, which almost certainly was a foul stopping a goal scoring chance. The referee waved advantage for Sweden but no advantage was to be seen, while at the next opportunity booking Randolph. It was a strange series of events , almost as strange as a drawn game in this tournament
Irish Manager Mark Ryan spoke to us after the game “Tough game. Gameplay was very laggy. Gave away a very bad goal and Randolph nearly cost me another goal, no idea what he was doing as I couldn’t control him.”