The Republic of Ireland drew 1-1 with Sweden in their first game of the 2016 UEFA European Championship in the Stade de France, Paris, following an unlucky own goal from Ciarán Clarke.
Taking the lead in the 48th minute with a superb half-volley goal from Norwich City F.C’s Wes Hoolahan and a great set-up from Seamus Coleman, the Irish team looked on top for most of the game and will be disappointed not to take three points.
Ireland lost their lead at the 71st minute with an unfortunate own goal from Ciarán Clarke, the first own goal scored in the Euros since England’s Glen Johnson put the ball in his own net in 2012, also playing against Sweden. A worry for the Irish defenders before the game, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had remained relatively quiet for the most part before making a deadly run for the box and sending a cross to the near post that unfortunately was nodded into the net by Clarke.
That Own Goal Ciaran Clark. Sweden equalise https://t.co/WTSS6OqOzi— Kibe (@Zielxr) June 13, 2016
The Irish team never looked completely like taking the lead again or returning to the excellent form they’d shown in the first half.
Nonetheless, the some 30,000 Irish fans present spent the entire match on their feet, as the celebratory atmosphere amongst the fans stood in stark contrast to scenes earlier this week when English and Russian fans clashed after their 1-1 draw. Irish supporters even took to Swedish pop supergroup ABBA to show their support.
Taking one point from this game, the Republic will go onto play Belgium this Saturday and finish off their Group E games against Italy on Wednesday June 22.
Northern Ireland also kicked off their Euro campaign on Sunday losing 1-0 to Poland.
An Irish fan dressed in a full Leprechaun outfit in the middle of a sea of Sweden fans. pic.twitter.com/sMNaDWUnG9— Fool of Soccer (@foolofsoccer) June 13, 2016