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Preview: Republic of Ireland v Sweden

"It's getting exciting," manager Martin O'Neill said as the Republic of Ireland ready themselves for their finals opener against Zlatan Ibrahimović-powered Sweden in Group E.

Zlatan Ibrahimović will be leading the line for Sweden
Zlatan Ibrahimović will be leading the line for Sweden ©AFP/Getty Images
  • Ireland and Sweden aim for strong start in Group E
  • Erik Hamrén: "We respect Ireland and we're looking forward to this"
  • Marcus Berg expected to partner Zlatan Ibrahimović up front
  • Ireland have never beaten Sweden in competitive action (W0 D2 L4)
  • Sweden won and drew against Ireland in 2014 World Cup qualifying

Possible line-ups
Republic of Ireland: Randolph; Coleman, O'Shea, Keogh, Brady; Whelan, McCarthy, Hendrick, Hoolahan; Walters, Long.
Out: none
Doubtful: none

Sweden: Isaksson; Lustig, Johansson, Granqvist, Olsson; Larsson, Lewicki, Källström, Forsberg; Ibrahimović, Berg.
: none
: none

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Martin O'Neill, Republic of Ireland manager
It's getting exciting. The competition has already started. There have been some very good games and I think we just can't wait to get started.

Everything you need to know about the Republic of Ireland in 30 seconds

We have some very talented individuals who can hopefully change the course of a game. If you're stubborn and you're hard to break down, if you've got that little bit of talent where you can conjure something up from virtually nothing, it gives you a better chance. We've got some very, very fine players who I think are ready to do well in the competition.

Erik Hamrén, Sweden coach
We've prepared well, both in Sweden and here. We respect Ireland and are looking forward to this encounter. They've played [a more possession-based game] during the last four matches but before that there was more of a traditional British style to their game. We'll have to see how they play tomorrow and then adapt – we'll prepare for both eventualities.

The important thing is to win the games and I hope we'll do that. Who scores the goals is not as important; if Zlatan can provide for others I'll be just as happy as if Zlatan scores the goals himself.

UEFA.com team reporters
Paul Bryan, Republic of Ireland (@UEFAcomPaulB)
A bad start at UEFA EURO 2012 set the tone for Ireland's tournament four years ago. To that end, the Boys in Green have spoken all week of the importance of obtaining a positive result against Sweden, a game they are reluctant to look beyond. Aerial dominance and set-piece ingenuity will be key factors for Ireland should they prevail.

A snapshot of Sweden

Sujay Dutt, Sweden (@UEFAcomSujayD)
All 23 Swedes are ready for action but of course only 11 can start. A few positions are more uncertain than others, most notably Ibrahimović's partner up front. When the Sweden captain himself was asked about the two main contenders, he said: "[John] Guidetti is a more complete footballer while [Marcus] Berg is more of a goalscorer." A pleasant headache to have for coach Hamrén, who seems likely to opt for Berg.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Republic of Ireland: LDDWWDLWWW

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Did you know?
The teams were in the same qualifying group for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Sweden came from behind to win 2-1 in Dublin, with goals from Johan Elmander and Anders Svensson, after drawing 0-0 in Solna, yet neither country made it to Brazil. Find out more in our extensive match background.

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