STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Frustrated Sweden stuttered to a 0-0 draw against a much-improved Ireland side in their Group C World Cup qualifier on Friday that saw them slip further behind leaders Germany.
The Swedish attack led by captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic failed to click, barely threatening keeper David Forde as the visitors, who suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat at home to the Germans in October, were more compact, organised and calm in possession.
Ireland had the best of the early chances, Jon Walters heading weakly wide from a Robbie Keane cross and Shane Long blazing over after a strong solo run from midfield.
It took Ibrahimovic, who often had to drop deep to seek possession, 36 minutes to register a shot which he followed up by heading narrowly wide from the subsequent corner.
The second half brought more frustration for Sweden, who had no shortage of possession but struggled to do anything with it.
The Swedes, who play Slovakia in a friendly on Tuesday, stay second on eight points behind Germany, who have 13 after winning 3-0 in Kazakhstan. Ireland are in fourth spot before facing third-placed Austria, who also have seven points, on Tuesday.
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