VETERAN Anders Svensson left the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup hopes in tatters as he marked his record-equalling 143rd appearance for Sweden with a precious winner.
The 37-year-old midfielder, who matched Thomas Ravelli’s leading caps total for the country, fired home from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 57th-minute pass to help the Swedes complete a stirring comeback in front of a packed Aviva Stadium.
It had started so well for Ireland when Robbie Keane blasted them ahead with 22 minutes gone, the 60th goal of his senior international career.
But Johan Elmander levelled after 33 minutes with a bullet header to pave the way for Svensson to finish the job and all but end Ireland’s hopes of making it to Brazil next summer.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s men will head for Austria on Tuesday night knowing nothing short of victory will give them any chance of wresting back a chance of snatching second place in Group C.
Republic of Ireland: Forde, Coleman, O’Shea, Dunne, Wilson, Whelan, McCarthy, Long, Keane, McClean, Walters. Subs: Westwood, Brady, Clark, O’Dea, Green, McShane, Pilkington, Cox, Hoolahan, Sammon, Cunningham, Randolph.
Sweden: Saksson, Lustig, Nilsson, Martin Olsson, Antonsson, Ekdal, Larsson, Svensson, Kacaniklic, Ibrahimovic, Elmander. Subs: Nordfeldt, Jonas Olsson, Kallstrom, Hysen, Jansson, Wernbloom, Pierre Bengtsson, Johansson, Toivonen, Durmaz, Zengin, Wiland.