Good evening, and welcome to Sports Mole
's live coverage from Dublin, where Republic of Ireland
host Sweden in their World Cup
qualifying encounter in Group C.
It's a big week for Ireland. They take on Sweden tonight, before travelling to Austria on Tuesday, with all three teams level on points in the group in second. Germany head the table and are five points clear of their nearest rivals, but the former three cannot be separated on 11 points from their opening six games. Needless to say that Ireland can go a long way towards earning a spot at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with a good couple of results.
Austria, Sweden and Ireland all have 11 points at the moment having won three matches, drawn twice and being beaten just once. However, Ireland have the worst record out of the trio when it comes to goal difference. Austria boast +10, Sweden then follow with +4, while Ireland can only offer +2. So even more incentives for the Irish to come away with two positive results from this international break.
Right, let's bring you the Ireland team news.
IRELAND XI: Forde, Coleman, Dunne, O'Shea, Wilson, Walters, McCarthy, Whelan, McClean, Keane, Long
The big team news is that Richard Dunne earns his first international cap since Euro 2012. The centre-back, who missed the whole of last season through injury, comes into the side in place of the injured Sean St Ledger. Dunne has enjoyed a successful start to the Championship campaign with Queens Park Rangers, having been released by Aston Villa at the end of last term. He will feel like he has a point to prove tonight.
Meanwhile, James McCarthy and James McClean both come into the team at the expense of Wes Hoolahan and the injured Aiden McGeady. McCarthy, now an Everton player, returns after serving a suspension.
Striker Shane Long also comes back into the team after serving his ban against the Faroe Islands, and partners captain Robbie Keane up front.
Marc Wilson has shaken off an ankle problem which means that he starts at left-back. While David Forde, who missed the friendly against Wales, retains his spot between the sticks for the Irish.
So that is the starting lineup for Ireland, and it is worth noting that finishing second in Group C would result in a playoff spot. Ireland won't mind that too much, having advanced to Euro 2012 via a two-legged encounter with Estonia. While it is still mathematically possible for Austria, Sweden and Ireland to all top the group, Germany are likely be crowned champions of the table having yet to taste defeat.
We'll bring you the Ireland substitutes bench as soon as we get it.
Likewise, we're still waiting on the Sweden team news, but we do know that the have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match. That should mean that skipper Zlatan Ibrahimovic will lead the line alongside Johan Elmander, who joined Norwich City on loan in the latter stages of the transfer window.
Ah, the Sweden starting lineup is just in.
SWEDEN XI: Isaksson, Lustig, Nilsson, Olsson, Larsson, Ekdal, Svensson, Ibrahimovic, Elmander, Antonsson, Kacaniklic
So as predicted, Sweden look as if they are deploying a 4-4-2 formation, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic being partnered in attack by Johan Elmander.
Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson also starts, while Andreas Isaksson is in goal for the Swede's this evening.
More squad news as it comes to us, but the Aviva Stadium is an absolute sell out for tonight's game, with 5,600 Sweden fans making the trip to Dublin. Unless they were already in Dublin for some reason of course.
So I touched on earlier how big a week this is for Ireland, and their skipper Robbie Keane is adamant that only maximum points from their next two games will be good enough.
"We have to get three points. It’s make or break.
"This is it now, these are the games the players have been look forward and we knew it would come down to this between the three of us.
"We cant afford to lose, no question. People say try and get a draw but it’s hard for any player to do that and always look for three points."
These two sides have already faced each other once in the group when they endured a goalless draw in Sweden back in April.
Ireland will certainly be hoping that history is on their side this evening, as they haven't lost on their own turf to Sweden since 1949.
Just over 10 minutes to go until kick off here, and the excitement is building in Dublin.
It's a big battle between the captains tonight. Ireland's record scorer Robbie Keane has scored 59 goals in 127 caps for his country, while Ibrahimovic has 91 caps for Sweden which has seen him net 44 goals.
The two teams are in the tunnel, both wearing tracksuit tops, as we await their entrance to the field.
Out come the two sides, who line up ahead of the national anthems.
Earlier on today, Kazakhstan beat the Faroe Islands 2-1 on their own turf, while Germany host Austria at the same time that Ireland and Sweden take to the field tonight.
We're currently undergoing the Sweden national anthem.
And now the Irish national anthem.
Ireland, especially Robbie Keane, look fired up for this. Kick off is just moments away.
Sweden to take kick off, they'll be shooting from left to right in this first half. Ireland, the reverse.
KICK OFF! Sweden get the match underway.
CHANCE! Early opportunity for the hosts as a free kick from the right touchline is floated into the box by Coleman. Dunne rises highest to nod the ball into the path of Long, who drills a shot towards goal, but it is blocked by a defender and flies out for a corner.
Sweden manage to clear the corner at the second time of asking, but Ireland have started on the front foot here.
Norwich City's Martin Olsson was down clutching his shoulder, but he is now back to his feet and looks ok to continue.
O'Shea pushes Elmander in the back as they both jump for the header, which gives Sweden a free kick to the right of centre about 30 yards from goal. Ibrahimovic steps up, but can only slam the ball into the wall.
CHANCE! Good spell of possession from Ireland, who have started this match with purpose. The ball falls to Glenn Whelan in the end, who scuffs a shot wide from the edge of the box, but it is the hosts who have started the brighter.
SAVE! Ireland again causing problems in the box. Robbie Keane goes down in the area and wants a penalty, but the referee is having none of it. The ball, again, drops to Glenn Whelan on the edge of the D, who this time pull of a better shot. It's on target, but is right down the throat of Isaksson.
Another free kick from range for Sweden here. This time to the left of centre. Ibrahimovic and Larsson are over it.
Ibrahimovic again takes it, and Ireland again block it with their wall.
No chances in the last few minutes, Sweden are easing their way back into the game.
CLOSE! And as I say that, Ireland go on the attack. O'Shea makes a crushing challenge of Ibrahimovic, and the balls falls at the feet of Walters at the midway point of the Sweden half. He has room and is allowed to take a few touches forward before hitting a right-footed effort just wide of the left post.
Olsson puts a cross in from the left which finds Ibrahimovic at the far post. Having outmuscled Wilson, he gets the shot away, but the defender recovers to throw his body in the way and concede the corner.
CHANCE! Larsson's corner from the right bobbles all the way through the penalty area to the far post, but Ibrahimovic can only manage to slam the ball into the side-netting. Let off for the hosts.
OFF THE BAR! He didn't mean it at all, but McClean has just hit the top of the bar. He weaves his way past Lustig on the left side before whipping in a really dangerous cross, which curves towards the top corner but hits the top of the bar. Isaksson was beaten.
GOAL! Republic of Ireland 1-0 Sweden (Robbie Keane)
Persistence is the key for Robbie Keane. He races onto a poor back header from Lustig and pokes a shot past the incoming Isaksson, but can only watch the ball come back off the post. However, Keane is first to the loose ball, and blasts an effort into the roof of the net from an acute angle. Ireland lead, and that was Keane's 60th goal for Ireland; a remarkable achievement.
Sweden haven't really responded to that goal, Ireland are still in the ascendancy.
CLOSE! Nearly a chance for Ireland. McClean's corner from the left falls to Whelan on the edge of the box who gets a low shot away. He drags his effort wide of the left post, but the strike nearly turns out to be a great pass for the unmarked Walters. However, the Stoke man cannot quite reach it, and it goes out for a goal kick.
Long is limping off the field at the moment. He appears to have taken a knock on the knee. No change yet though, so Ireland are down to 10 men for now. It doesn't look good though.
CLOSE! Sweden should be level. They go on the attack with Kacaniklic down the right, before he plays the ball inside to Ibrahimovic. The captain floats a perfect cross into the box to an unmarked Larsson at the far post. Forde doesn't stand a chance if this header is on target, but Larsson somehow nods the ball wide. Ireland really off the hook there.
GOAL! Republic of Ireland 1-1 Sweden (Johan Elmander)
Brilliant leveller from Sweden. Larsson runs onto the ball in the Ireland box before pushing wide on the right to Lustig. The right-back curls in a superb cross, which Elmander races towards the near post to meet for glancing into the roof of the net. Great cross, great header, great goal. Game on.
The momentum is with Sweden now and they have forced Ireland into one or two last-ditch blocks in the past few minutes. Ireland need to calm down.
Corner to Ireland after some nice movement from Keane, before Wilson blasted the cross off Lustig.
That's poor from McClean. He picks the pass up on the edge of the box, but fails to beat his man and then commits a foul.
YELLOW CARD Dunne is the first man to go into the book tonight for a trip on Ibrahimovic.
Ireland slightly on top at the moment, but nothing in the way of chances in the past few minutes.
CHANCE! Good play from Ireland. Walters flicks on a throwing towards Keane. Neither he nor Whelan can get control of the ball, so Walters dips a half-volley towards goal but it was never troubling Isaksson, and heads over the bar.
One minute to go.
HALF TIME: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Sweden
A thoroughly entertaining opening half at the Aviva Stadium, and this match is really up for grabs. Ireland led through a Keane strike, before Elmander equalised with a bullet header shortly after.
Had Seb Larsson been better with his head, then the away side could be leading here. But as it stands, these teams just cannot be separated.
Both teams are back out onto the field, and Ireland will shortly get the second half underway.
KICK OFF! Ireland, now shooting from left to right, resume the game.
McClean and Walters appear to have traded wings at the start of this second half. McClean now on the right. Seems strange seeing as that McClean dominated Lustig in the first half.
Olsson turns on the edge of the box and puts in a nice cross to the edge of the six-yard box. It falls towards Elmander, but he is forced to put the ball behind by the defender.
CHANCE! Ireland come on the attack once more. Walters nods the ball on the edge of the box to Long, who sees McClean in oceans of room of the right of the area. He passes it to the winger, who comes inside on his stronger left foot, but can only shoot straight at Isaksson.
Lustig penalised for tussling with Walters. Ireland now have a free kick from range.
Austria are currently losing to Germany, so there's a big chance for one of these sides to put some daylight between them are their rivals.
Ireland hammer the free kick into the wall and out for a throw.
SAVE! Brilliant save from Forde, who rushes out to quickly thwart Larsson, who was slotted through with a clear path on goal.
YELLOW CARD Albin Ekdal goes into the book for Sweden.
GOAL! Republic of Ireland 1-2 Sweden (Anders Svensson)
Wow, how damaging could that be for Ireland. It's shocking defending from the hosts, who allow Svensson to drift into free space on the right of the box before he is picked out with a through ball by Ibrahimovic. Svensson bares down on goal before beating Forde at his near post. What a way to celebrate becoming your country's joint-record cap holder.
Ireland are starting to find their way back into the match, McClean blasts a cross off Olsson to win a corner.
SWEDEN CHANGE Lustig has come off injured, while Adam Johansson has replaced him. 25 minutes to go.
Ireland need to sort themselves out defensively. They are allowing Sweden to just roam where they want.
Simon Cox will come on shortly for Ireland.
SWEDEN CHANGE Andres Svensson, whose goal separates these two sides, is taken off for Pontus Wernbloom. What a name.
IRELAND CHANGE Giovanni Trapattoni puts Simon Cox on in place of Walters.
Less than 20 minutes to go for Ireland, who now have the chance to put the ball into the box with this long free kick.
They do just that but it heads out of play, and Sweden have the goal kick.
CHANCE! Robbie Keane is furious with his strike partner Shane Long. The West Brom man raced down the right, with the LA Galaxy forward free at the far post. It would have been a simple tap-in for Keane, but Long takes too long and the chance dies.
IRELAND CHANGE Anthony Pilkington, at the sixth time of asking, makes his Ireland debut, and comes on for McClean.
Massive 13 minutes for Ireland. Lose this, and they will face a real uphill struggle to qualify.
The atmosphere is lifting in the stadium, which has absolutely nothing to do with the streaker. Do or die time for the Irish now.
YELLOW CARD Whelan goes into the book for a tackle that screamed of frustration on Kacaniklic.
Ireland nearly gift Sweden the win after giving the ball straight to the Swedes. However, the visitors can't make the most of it.
Time running out for Ireland. They have most of their players forward, but Sweden are defending in numbers.
Pilkington whips in a good ball to the far side of the box where Long nods it down to the edge of the six-yard box. Keane slides in looking to go for the ball, but Isaksson beats him to it and gets clattered for his troubles.
Three minutes for Ireland to save this.
SWEDEN CHANGE Elmander is coming off for Sweden, while Jonas Olsson is brought on in defence.
FULL TIME: Republic of Ireland 1-2 Sweden
Disaster for Ireland, and the players expression say it all. They have missed a massive opportunity to push towards qualification here tonight. Sweden are now in the driving seat for the runners-up spot in Group C and sit three points ahead of Ireland and Austria.
Robbie Keane had given the hosts the lead with his 60th international goal, but Johan Elmander made sure that the game was level heading into the break. However, Anders Svensson netted the winner in the second half to give Sweden their first win in Ireland since 1949.
That's all from me this evening, I hope you enjoyed the game. Until next time, it's goodnight from me.