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Republic of Ireland v Sweden: All you need to know

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FRIDAY 31 May

Women’s EURO 2025 qualifiers

League A Group 3
Republic of Ireland v Sweden, Aviva Stadium, 7.30pm
England v France, St James’ Park, 8pm

TV
Live coverage from 7pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player

ONLINE
Live blog on rte.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app with clips on RTÉ Sport social media

RADIO
Live commentary on an extended Game On with 2fm

WEATHER
Fine and dry with long spells of sunshine. Highest temperatures of 16 to 19 degrees in light northerly breezes. For more go to met.ie.

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It’s back to Lansdowne Road for Ireland as they aim to get off the mark in Euro 2025 qualification.

Eileen Gleeson’s side are in League A, which means they are guaranteed a play-off place regardless of what happens but finishing in the top two would mean automatic qualification for the tournament Switzerland.

That is proving as difficult as you would expect from a group containing three of the top-five teams in the world and the Girls in Green need a result tonight to keep that possibility alive following deserved defeats to France (1-0 in Metz) and England (2-0 in front of 32,742 fans at the Aviva).

Those two face off in Newcastle tonight for the right to top the table.

Sweden at home probably offers the best opportunity for points so far, even though Friday’s opponents finished third at last year’s World Cup, where Ireland failed to get out of their group.

The Irish drew 1-1 in Gothenburg and unluckily lost 1-0 at home against the Swedes in qualifying for that tournament so should not be overawed by the visitors.

Even more importantly, Peter Gerhardsson is missing key players such as star striker Stina Blackstenius of Arsenal, her fellow forwards Anna Anvegard and Rebecka Blomqvist, midfielder Lina Hurtig and centre-back Amanda Ilestedt.

“I think this is a great opportunity for Ireland,” says RTÉ soccer analyst Lisa Fallon. “Considering they’re missing such key players and I think based on their experience, there’s no mystery about playing Sweden for this group of Irish players.

“Based on the experience they had, particularly over in Sweden, they should have real confidence going into this game and take more confidence from the performances against France and England.”

Denise O’Sullivan (L) in action against Sweden in April 2023

Ireland have their own absences to deal with.

Niamh Fahey, Heather Payne (both Achilles), Chloe Mustaki, Tara O’Hanlon and Jamie Finn all miss out through injury. Sinead Farrelly has retired after a year and eight international appearances.

Midfield maestro Denise O’Sullivan hasn’t played since twisting her knee in action for North Carolina Courage against Kansas City in the NWSL almost three weeks ago.

She has been on a modified training programme in Ireland camp this week but Gleeson admitted it would “a late call” whether the Cork woman starts or not, with the return fixture in Stockholm on Tuesday also worth considering. O’Sullivan did not take a full part in training on Thursday, instead doing her own light running away from the group.

However, captain Katie McCabe trained fully on Wednesday and Thursday having returned at the weekend from playing a friendly in Melbourne with Arsenal, and the likes of FA Cup winner Aoife Mannion and Leanne Kiernan (four goals in her last three Super League games) come in on a high.

Gleeson had a dream start after succeeding Vera Pauw as head coach, going eight games unbeaten as Ireland cruised through Nations League B and drew in Italy, but a friendly defeat to Wales in February wrapped up the honeymoon and she will hope to at least end a run of three games without a goal, late pressure proving fruitless against the French and England after long spells on the back foot.

A crowd of around 30,000 is hoped for in Dublin 4 once again and Gleeson wants to give them more to shout about this time.

“It is a home game, we want to bring the game to them as well too,” she told RTÉ Sport. “As a team, we want to be assertive and aggressive and have much more high quality further up the pitch as well.”

Watch Republic of Ireland v Sweden in Euro 2025 qualifying on Friday from 7pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, follow a live blog on rte.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app and listen to commentary on an extended Game On with 2fm

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