Republic of Ireland v Sweden: Three players to watch from each team

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Updated: September 6, 2013

Republic of Ireland v Sweden: Three players to watch from each team, kick off 7:45pm

Seamus Coleman: The young man from Killybegs is fast becoming one the best young fullbacks in the English Premier League. Comfortable on the ball with a serious attacking threat Coleman is an important attacking outlet for this Irish team. With the less than dynamic Jon Walters in front of him the onus falls on the Everton man to get forward and provide crosses for the Irish strikers.

 

James McCarthy: The young Glaswegian should arrive at the Aviva with a pep in his step following his move from the Championship back to the Premier League with Everton. Assured on the ball with an excellent passing range and completion rate it, McCarthy is one of the few Irish players genuinely comfortable with the ball at his feet and his defensive work is often overlooked.

 

Robbie Keane: A stalwart of the 3 to watch feature for probably the final qualifying campaign, the Tallaght man is Ireland’s only genuine goal threat. Shane Long has not scored a competitive goal for Ireland since Russia in 2010 and so the responsibility falls on Keane’s experienced shoulders. He doesn’t offer a lot around the field but good club form suggests he remains a very real threat in front of goal.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: With leagues title wins in double figures across some of the greatest clubs in European football Ibrahimovic is a world star whose performances can be sprinkled with stardust. Equality he can be petulant and disinterested. Possessing a fantastic touch with brutish power and an eye for the spectacular Ireland will need to keep him quiet or hope he does that himself.

 

Seb Larsson: The Arsenal academy graduate has perhaps never hit the heights his early promise hinted at. Not a direct pacy winger he has always given the impression he would prefer to be playing through the middle. It is his expertise with the dead ball that Ireland will need to be wary of.

 

Johan Elmander: Elmander has recently returned to the Premier League after signing for Norwich. A big physical presence, Elmander will lead the line with Ibrahimovic sitting behind. While not the quickest, much to the relief of O’Shea and Dunne, Elmander will provide an aerial menace which allied with Larsson’s delivery can cause problems for the Irish defence.

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