Jun 15, 2016

    No Swede success as Zlatan goes 'missing' against Ireland


    IN THE city where they are accustomed to savouring his magic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic once again failed to live up to his own hype for Sweden as he went missing in their fortuitous 1-1 draw with Ireland.

    It might have been his cross that Ciaran Clark headed into his own net to salvage a point for Sweden in their Euro 2016 group E clash but, otherwise, the 34-year-old Paris St German hero was an anonymous figure as his side failed to manage a single shot on target.

    For all of his dazzling performances down the years, particularly in the City of Light for PSG, Ibrahimovic has often been found wanting on the biggest stages of all.

    Once again, he struggled to find any sort of rhythm in the place he has called home for the last four years.

    There were echoes of his anaemic performances for PSG - he leaves the French champions on a transfer this summer - when they crashed out of this year's Champions League against Manchester City.

    Linked with a big-money move and a reunion with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, the ease with which he was subdued by Ireland's journeyman defence poses serious questions as to whether he could thrive in the English Premier League.

    With Italy up next and Belgium waiting in the wings, Sweden's undisputed leader on and off the field will have to up his game considerably if they are to have any chance of making the knockout stage.

    "We now have two matches left and we need to take the necessary points," Ibrahimovic said.

    To do so, he will have to find a way of eluding defenders who are considerably more gifted than those fielded by the Irish.