The Republic of Ireland will look to pick up three points in Dublin on Friday when they face off against Sweden in a highly anticipated 2014 World Cup qualifying match.
Robbie Keane and "the Boys in Green" earned a hard-fought draw in Stockholm earlier this year, overcoming a lackluster performance to pick up a point towards qualification.
Heading into Friday's Group C showdown, both Ireland and Sweden find themselves in a deadlock with Austria for second place in the group table, which Germany leads comfortably through six matches. But with Austria set to take on the surging Germans in Munich on Friday, the winner of this matchup in Dublin could potentially take control of second place in Group C.
With sole possession of a second-place play-off spot on the line, here we'll set the stage for Friday's kickoff.
When: Friday, September 6 at 2:45 p.m. ET (7:45 p.m. BST)
Where: Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland
Watch: Gol TV (U.S.), Sky Sports 2 (U.K.)
Live Stream: Sky Go
Top Storyline: Which Side Will Capitalize on Wide Open Play-Off Spot?
As already mentioned, the winner of Friday's matchup in Dublin could jump three points ahead in the race for second place in Group C.
With Austria facing an uphill battle against Germany, Ireland could take a huge step towards Brazil with another win at home. Keep in mind that "the Green Army" annihilated the Faroe Islands 3-0 in Dublin in their previous 2014 World Cup qualifying match back in June.
Sweden is also coming off a home victory over the Faroe Islands earlier this summer but unfortunately has yet to earn three points away from home, losing to Austria, drawing with Germany and losing to the Faroe Islands in their last three 2014 World Cup qualifying matches on the road.
With so much at stake heading into the final stages of UEFA qualification, you can bet Friday's top storyline will center on second place in Group C and the golden opportunity in front of each squad.
Ireland have yet to drop a home match in 2014 World Cup qualifying in 2013, outscoring their two opponents 5-2 over that time.
Meanwhile, Sweden have struggled to play a complete game on the road.
Even in Stockholm, Ireland's defense had all the answers for the Sweden attack, allowing just nine shots—and only three on target—despite being out-possessed 60-40. Look for more of the same on Friday.
Like their previous matchup and the current Group C table suggest, these are two evenly matched squads, who will find goals difficult to come by on Friday.
But the Boys in Green will have by far the biggest advantage playing in Dublin in front of a sea of supporters.
There won't be many chances in this match, but look for Ireland to be the first to capitalize.
Republic of Ireland 1, Sweden 0
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