Irish hopes of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 received a crushing blow after they were defeated 2-1 by Sweden in Dublin on Friday night.

Germany’s victory over Austria and Sweden’s win leaves both those countries the firm favorites to come out of the group with Germany assured of qualifying. Ireland now lie three points behind Sweden with a very tough away game to Austria to come next week.

Ireland started out very well and a Robbie Keane goal early in the first half was just the tonic the team needed. It was the Los Angeles Galaxy star’s  60th goal for Ireland and one of the most important.

Soon after however Sweden came more into the game and had an equalizer before half time.

They went ahead in the second half and despite numerous switches and substitution by Ireland they never managed to pull off a late goal.

Swedens Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Republic of Ireland s Marc WilsonPA