Stephen Kenny set for biggest test with Ireland U21s in Sweden

Ireland striker Adam Idah admits challenge awaits but ‘we have done our homework’

Ireland U21 player Troy Parrott   celebrates scoring a goal against Armenia at Tallaght Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Ireland U21 player Troy Parrott celebrates scoring a goal against Armenia at Tallaght Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Under-21 Euro 2021 Group One qualifier: Sweden v Republic of Ireland  

Kick-off: 5.30pm, Irish time. Venue: Guldfågeln Arena, Kalmar.

Stephen Kenny’s honeymoon period as Ireland Under-21 manager encounters its biggest test this evening when his highly-rated team visit Sweden for their third Euro qualifier.

Back-to-back home wins over Luxembourg (3-0) and Armenia (1-0), allied to the swashbuckling style of a new generation, has created a buzz around this side and a genuine confidence of them creating history.

An Under-21 major finals is the only tournament missing from the FAI’s list of qualifications in the male game and they’ll require a top-two finish in this campaign to try break that duck.

Sweden, second seeds behind Italy, are considered Ireland’s main competition for the runners-up spot, highlighting the significance of this fixture.

The Swedes have calibre at this level. In each of the last seven qualifying campaigns, they’ve clinched either first or second spot, reaching the finals three times over the past decade. Victor Lindelöf was part of their side which lifted the trophy in 2015.

Competitive

In Ireland’s favour is the fact this is Sweden’s first competitive game with this intake.

Managed by former Sheffield Wednesday defender Roland Nilsson, they have had four friendlies, following up an initial loss to Russia by defeating Scotland, Norway and Finland.

Kenny has optimised the blitz of matches with his crew since March, seven in total including five at the prestigious Toulon Tournament in June.

Only one of those has resulted in defeat and that was against an older Brazil side in France armed with €80 million worth of talent.

“This will be our toughest test of the campaign but we’ve our homework done on Sweden,” says Ireland striker Adam Idah. “It would be nice as a group to create history by reaching the finals but there’s a lot of games to be played yet.”

REP OF IRELAND (probable): C Kelleher (Liverpool); L O’Connor (Celtic), D O’Shea (West Brom), C Masterson (QPR), D Leahy (Bohemians); J Molumby (Millwall), C Coventry (West Ham United), J Knight (Derby County), A Connolly (Brighton and Hove Albion); T Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur); A Idah (Norwich City)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.