Republic of Ireland draw with Sweden after Ciaran Clark own goal
Euro 2016 Group E, Stade de France - Republic of Ireland 1 (Hoolahan 48') Sweden 1 (Clark OG 71')
Ciaran Clark’s own goal 20 minutes from time denied Republic of Ireland a win in their opening Euro 2016 game against Sweden.
Martin O’Neill’s side had led through Wes Hoolahan’s opener, finding the Swedish net with a well-executed strike on the half-volley. However, Ireland couldn’t hold out and had to settle for a point to kick-start their campaign at the Stade de France.
With Belgium and Italy the other two sides in Group E, this match was billed as a must-win for both sides. Ireland were the dominant side for much of the match, with Hoolahan, Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick all impressing.
However, Sweden came back into the match after the opener, with Ireland slipping deeper and deeper as they attempted to absorb the pressure coming at them. They couldn’t hold out, though, as Clark headed into his own net in an effort to prevent Sebastian Larsson from finishing a Zlatan Ibrahimovic cross behind him.
Have Ireland and Sweden crippled each others’ chances? - Both these teams came into their opening Euro 2016 fixture in a similar mindset. To stand a real chance of making the last 16 they needed to take three points. However, by drawing Ireland and Sweden might have crippled each others’ prospects. Now they must take something against Belgium and Italy. This is the Group of Death and this match might have killed these two.
Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic applauds fans after the game with the Republic of IrelandReuters
MAN OF THE MATCH
Wes Hoolahan - The Norwich City man wasn’t fancied much by Giovanni Trapattoni, but under Martin O’Neill he has become a key figure for the Republic of Ireland, and he was the main man on this occasion against Sweden.
He took his goal remarkably well, but he contributed much more than that. Everything Ireland did well came through Hoolahan. He is their headline act at these championships.
Wes Hoolahan celebrates after giving Ireland the leadPA Sport
11’ HENDRICK HAS A SHOT SAVED! That was Ireland's first real chance of the match. Walters knocked down for Hendricks, but his drive at goal is saved by Isaksson. Good effort.
13’ RANDOLPH SMOTHERS! Berg peeled away from his marker to take down a ball on the chest, but the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper was off his line quickly to dive at the feet of the striker.
29’ JUST OVER THE BAR! That was so close to an opener for Republic of Ireland. Brady takes aim from the edge of the penalty area, beats the keeper but hits the top of the net. O'Neill thought it was in.
32’ HENDRICK OFF THE BAR! That was the best move of the game and it results with Hendrick smashing a shot off the woodwork. The Derby man has been the best player on the pitch. Inches away.
Sweden's Sebastian Larsson celebrates after Republic of Ireland's Ciaran Clark scores an own goal and Sweden's firstReuters
41’ LONG WANTS A PENALTY KICK! Hoolahan puts a wicked cross into the Swedish penalty area, with Long and Walters in there. But neither get there and Long has his appeals for a spot kick turned down.
47’ ANOTHER HENDRICK SHOT! The midfield drove forward with the ball and struck a fizzing, low shot towards goal from 25 yards out. But Isaksson was behind it the whole way.
48’ GOAL! Republic of Ireland 1 Sweden 0: The Boys in Green have the opener! Hoolahan met a cross on the bounce first time and fired a half volley into the net. What an excellent finish!
50’ FORSBERG SHOULD HAVE SCORED! Randolph is forced into a diving save, reacting to a deflected freekick delivery, but Forsberg fires over the rebound when he should have found the net.
60’ IBRAHIMOVIC COMES CLOSE! That was the chance the Sweden striker has been waiting for. He had his back to goal as a cross came into the box, but he volleys past the post.
71’ GOAL! Republic of Ireland 1 Sweden 1: Sweden have an equaliser and it's an own goal! Clark had to deal with Ibrahimovic's cross, but he heads past Randolph into his own net.
83’ IBRAHIMOVIC INCHES AWAY! Olsson once again does well to get down the left side and fizzes a low cross into the striker. But he can't make a connection and the chance is gone.
Ireland have failed to win at a European Championship finals since their tournament debut against England in 1988.
Ciaran Clark’s own goal is the first scored at the Euros since Glen Johnson (England) against Sweden in 2012.
Wes Hoolahan became the fourth Ireland player to score at the European Championships after Ray Houghton, Glenn Whelan and Sean St.Ledger