Ireland playing stone-age football puts us in the lap of the gods
Inability to change when needed has severely damaged World Cup hopes
And then Robbie Keane delivered, as he has done on so many occasions, exposing what we already knew to be a rickety Swedish defence. It was pure Robbie of old: springing to life like a Jack in the Box when his initial scuffed shot hit the post.
It came off a route-one ball and a flick on by Shane Long.
The Swedes were having all sorts of problems with James McClean’s deliveries and especially the physicality of Shane Long and Walters. It was raining and we were lashing ball down on our struggling visitors.
Anders Svensson, the old man of Sweden’s midfield, was in all sorts of trouble, and James McCarthy knew it, robbing him to send Long thundering down on goal once again. It was madness but we all embraced it.
We were playing without subtlety. Séamus Coleman’s darting runs were never utilised and worst of all the team wasn’t willing to trust McCarthy. Everything was sent over their heads.
McCarthy was forced to push on and hunt for scraps. Maybe he should have insisted on being the team leader. Maybe he should have demanded the ball and tried to play it through Sweden.
It wasn’t long before a whipping cross by Mikael Lustig found Elmander dashing in front of Dunne. It was a brilliant goal.
Back to square one. Actually back further than that. The Swedes came alive with Dunne scrambling to save us from another in-swinger from the right.
The second half was more of the same. Blood and guts. Blow for blow.
It was going to be decided by a special moment. By a player who stood head and shoulders above the others. Ibrahimovic created another chance for Larsson, which Forde saved, before he sent Svensson through on goal for the killer second goal.
Finally, Ireland tried to pass the ball, like they do for their clubs every Saturday, but it is awfully difficult to switch mindset after an hour of ping pong. The ball refuses to stick. The manager reacted with Simon Cox and Anthony Pilkington (already a favourite, I fear). A refusal to alter archaic methods.
I feel like we are the only nation playing like this. When it really mattered, boot and bollick was all we had to offer.
We are in the lap of the football gods now.