The Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualification hopes were left hanging by a thread after Sweden clinched a deserved comeback victory in Dublin.

Robbie Keane poked in his 60th international goal in the 21st minute after a bright start from the hosts.

But Johan Elmander headed a brilliant equaliser 12 minutes later as the Swedes began to take control.

And with Zlatan Ibrahimovic dictating play, veteran Anders Svensson stroked in the winner on 57 minutes.

The result means the Republic need to win in Austria on Tuesday and away to Germany next month to maintain any faint hopes of qualification, with a further home game against Kazakhstan to follow.

Friday's result will inevitably lead to further criticism of Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni and increase the prospects of him losing his job at the end of the current qualifying campaign.

The match kicked off with both sides knowing defeat would leave them with an uphill struggle to clinch a play-off place behind runaway group leaders Germany.

The Republic looked the more lively and purposeful outfit in the early stages, with Sweden centre-back Martin Olsson having to make a brave block to deny a goalbound Shane Long shot in the second minute.

Remaining Ireland qualifiers

10 September: Austria (a)

11 October: Germany (a)

15 October: Kazakhstan (h)

The Swedish defence appeared vulnerable under the high ball with Glenn Whelan firing straight at keeper Andreas Isaksson in the eighth minute and Jonathan Walters then off target after a crunching challenge from John O'Shea on dangerman Ibrahimovic.

At the other end, Marc Wilson made up for misjudging the flight of a deep cross as he reacted brilliantly to block an angled Ibrahimovic shot in the 16th minute.

However, the Republic were continuing to look the busier and gave the visitors a scare on 20 minutes as an attempted cross from James McClean bounced on Isaksson's crossbar.

The home team's enterprise was rewarded within a minute as Keane's chased down a weak Mikael Lustig back header and scrambled home after his initial poked shot hit the post.

But that was as good as it got for the Irish as they quickly surrendered the initiative.

Elmander had a chance to level within two minutes but scuffed his shot into David Forde's arms after hesitation in the Irish defence.

Fifa 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group C

Played Won Points

Germany

7

6

19

Sweden

7

4

14

Austria

7

3

11

R. of Ireland

7

3

11

Kazakhstan

7

1

4

Faroes

7

0

0

On the half-hour, the unmarked Sebastian Larsson missed a glorious chance to level as he somehow headed wide from six yards after a beautifully weighted cross from Ibrahimovic.

But the equaliser did come three minutes later as Lustig's brilliant right-wing cross was glanced home by Elmander after the Norwich striker got in ahead of Richard Dunne.

McClean tested Isaksson six minutes into the second half but the Swedes, with Ibrahimovic controlling the game, were looking the more threatening.

Forde had to race from his line on 55 minutes to dive at Larsson's feet after Ibrahimovic split the Irish defence with another superb pass.

But Forde's efforts were to count for little when, seconds later, Ibrahimovic passed for 37-year-old Svensson to run through and fire past the keeper on the night he won his national-record equalling 143rd cap.

In the closing stages, their was little shape to the Republic team, with recent Everton signing James McCarthy struggling to make any impression on the contest.

Trapattoni opted not to send on the creative talents of Wes Hoolahan in the closing stages instead opting to give an international debut to the midfielder's Norwich club-mate Anthony Pilkington while Simon Cox was also introduced to little effect.

Long did managed to find a couple of promising positions but was unable to pick out an attacking colleague as the visitors ran out victorious.

Germany's 3-0 win over Austria kept the Group C leaders five points ahead of the Swedes, with the Republic fourth in the table, level on points with the Austrians.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (5)

Rep of Ireland

  • 01 Forde
  • 02 Coleman
  • 03 Wilson
  • 04 O'Shea
  • 05 Dunne Booked
  • 06 Whelan Booked
  • 08 McCarthy
  • 11 McClean (Pilkington - 74' )
  • 09 Long
  • 10 Keane
  • 13 Walters (Cox - 68' )

Substitutes

  • 16 Westwood
  • 23 Randolph
  • 12 Clark
  • 14 O'Dea
  • 17 McShane
  • 22 Cunningham
  • 15 Green
  • 18 Pilkington
  • 20 Hoolahan
  • 07 Brady
  • 19 Cox
  • 21 Sammon

Sweden

  • 01 Isaksson
  • 02 Lustig (Johansson - 64' )
  • 04 Nilsson
  • 05 Olsson
  • 13 Antonsson
  • 06 Ekdal Booked
  • 07 Larsson
  • 08 Svensson (Wernbloom - 68' )
  • 19 Kacaniklic
  • 10 Ibrahimovic
  • 11 Elmander (Olsson - 90' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Nordfeldt
  • 23 Wiland
  • 03 Olsson
  • 15 Jansson
  • 17 Bengtsson
  • 18 Johansson
  • 09 Kallstrom
  • 16 Wernbloom
  • 21 Durmaz
  • 22 Zengin
  • 14 Hysen
  • 20 Toivonen
Ref: Skomina
Att: 49,500

Match Stats

Shots

12 8

On target

6 5

Corners

7 3

Fouls

16 7

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:31 Full time

Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.

90:00 +2:37

The ball is crossed by Anthony Pilkington. Andreas Isaksson catches the ball.

90:00 +1:09

Short corner taken by Robbie Keane.

90:00 +1:09 Substitution

Substitution Jonas Olsson is brought on as a substitute for Johan Elmander.

89:10

Anthony Pilkington challenges Johan Elmander unfairly and gives away a free kick. Martin Olsson restarts play with the free kick.

88:06

Robbie Keane concedes a free kick for a foul on Andreas Isaksson. Andreas Isaksson restarts play with the free kick.

87:32

Shane Long takes a shot. Andreas Isaksson safely holds on.

86:09

Shot by Seamus Coleman. Martin Olsson gets a block in.

83:56

Seamus Coleman gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Johan Elmander. Sebastian Larsson crosses the ball in from the free kick. David Forde safely holds on.

82:47

Corner taken by Sebastian Larsson. Clearance made by John O'Shea.

80:43 Booking

Booking

80:38

Glenn Whelan challenges Alex Kacaniklic unfairly and gives away a free kick. Glenn Whelan goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour. Albin Ekdal restarts play with the free kick.

80:10

Foul by Sebastian Larsson on Anthony Pilkington, free kick awarded. Marc Wilson restarts play with the free kick.

76:26

Robbie Keane concedes a free kick for a foul on Albin Ekdal. Andreas Isaksson restarts play with the free kick.

74:29

Richard Dunne gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Johan Elmander. Free kick crossed by Sebastian Larsson restarts the game.

73:39

Corner taken by Anthony Pilkington from the left by-line. Header by John O'Shea misses to the right of the target.

73:16 Substitution

Substitution (Rep of Ireland) makes a substitution, with Anthony Pilkington coming on for James McClean.

71:15

Sebastian Larsson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marc Wilson. Marc Wilson restarts play with the free kick.

69:46

John O'Shea concedes a free kick for a foul on Johan Elmander. Martin Olsson restarts play with the free kick.

67:11 Substitution

Substitution Simon Cox comes on in place of Jonathan Walters.

67:11 Substitution

Substitution Anders Svensson goes off and Pontus Wernbloom comes on.

63:46 Substitution

Substitution Adam Johansson is brought on as a substitute for Mikael Lustig.

62:15

The assistant referee flags for offside against Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Free kick taken by David Forde.

56:34

Zlatan Ibrahimovic provided the assist for the goal.

56:34 Goal scored

Goal! - Anders Svensson - R Ireland 1 - 2 Sweden Anders Svensson scores with a right foot finish. Rep of Ireland 1-2 Sweden.

55:57

James McClean challenges Martin Olsson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Martin Olsson takes the free kick.

55:34

The referee books Albin Ekdal for dissent.

55:34 Booking

Booking

52:59

Foul by Mikael Lustig on Jonathan Walters, free kick awarded. James McClean has a shot from the free kick which hits the wall.

50:16

James McClean takes a shot. Andreas Isaksson parries the effort to safety.

46:48

Johan Elmander takes a shot.

45:26

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is caught offside. David Forde restarts play with the free kick.

45:01

The referee gets the second half underway.

45:00 +1:07 Half time

Half Time The match has reached half-time.

45:00

Albin Ekdal concedes a free kick for a foul on Glenn Whelan. Glenn Whelan restarts play with the free kick.

43:38

James McClean takes a shot and cleared the bar.

42:39

Foul by Anders Svensson on James McCarthy, free kick awarded. James McCarthy crosses the ball in from the free kick.

41:19

The official flags Zlatan Ibrahimovic offside. Richard Dunne restarts play with the free kick.

39:39

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sebastian Larsson by Marc Wilson. Sebastian Larsson takes the free kick.

37:00 Booking

Booking

36:53

Free kick awarded for a foul by Richard Dunne on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Booking for Richard Dunne for unsporting behaviour. Martin Olsson takes the free kick.

36:35

Robbie Keane decides to take the corner short.

35:15

The referee blows for offside. David Forde restarts play with the free kick.

33:41

Corner taken by Sebastian Larsson.

32:21

Assist on the goal came from Mikael Lustig.

32:21 Goal scored

Goal! - Johan Elmander - R Ireland 1 - 1 Sweden Johan Elmander grabs a goal with a headed effort. Rep of Ireland 1-1 Sweden.

31:54

Foul by James McCarthy on Sebastian Larsson, free kick awarded. Sebastian Larsson takes the free kick.

29:49

Header at goal by Sebastian Larsson goes right of the post.

28:47

Short corner taken by Robbie Keane from the left by-line.

24:57

Corner taken by James McClean from the left by-line.

23:57

Corner from the right by-line taken by Robbie Keane.

22:54

Johan Elmander has an effort at goal. David Forde catches the ball.

20:59 Goal scored

Goal! - Robbie Keane - R Ireland 1 - 0 Sweden Robbie Keane slots the ball right footed into the goal. Rep of Ireland 1-0 Sweden.

20:07

James McClean takes a shot.

15:29

Corner from the right by-line taken by Sebastian Larsson. Shot by Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed to the left of goal.

14:49

Free kick awarded for a foul by Shane Long on Alex Kacaniklic. Free kick taken by Mikael Lustig.

14:04

Foul by Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Marc Wilson, free kick awarded. David Forde takes the free kick.

13:27

Jonathan Walters takes a shot and went wide of the left-hand upright.

11:03

Martin Olsson fouled by Shane Long, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Andreas Isaksson.

8:20

Unfair challenge on Martin Olsson by Jonathan Walters results in a free kick. Srike on goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic hits the wall from the free kick.

7:36

Glenn Whelan takes a shot. Andreas Isaksson catches the ball.

6:10

Glenn Whelan takes the chance to get an effort at goal and missed to the left of the target.

2:57

John O'Shea gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Johan Elmander. Zlatan Ibrahimovic shoots direct from the free kick against the wall.

1:47

Glenn Whelan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alex Kacaniklic. Andreas Isaksson takes the free kick.

1:16

Corner taken by James McClean. Per Nilsson makes a clearance.

0:59

Shane Long takes a shot. Martin Olsson gets a block in.

0:14

Mikael Antonsson concedes a free kick for a foul on Shane Long. Free kick taken by Seamus Coleman.

0:00

The referee starts the match.

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