Robbie Keane’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup were dealt a major blow on Friday as Ireland fell 2-1 to Sweden despite the LA Galaxy captain scoring his 60th international goal.
Keane put Ireland up 1-0 after 22nd minutes after the Irish captain was able to make an industrious run toward goal that ended with a calm finish from close range. However, the lead did not last long as 11 minutes later, Johan Elmander equalized off a header. In the 57th minute, the Swedes pulled ahead for good when A Zlatan Ibrahimović pass found Anders Svensson, who fired a shot past Irish goalkeeper David Forde.
Ireland now sits in fourth place in UEFA’s Group C with 11 points tied with third place Austria, who are head on goal difference. Sweden is in sole possession of second place with 14 points while Germany is head and shoulders above the rest with 19 points.
For the Irish to have any hope of qualifying for Brazil, a win is mandatory in their next qualifier against Austria on Sept. 10. Anything less than three points and the Irish may be in dire straits with matches on the road against Germany and at home to Kazakhstan looming in October.