An unexpected result in their first World Cup Qualifier match in March this year means the stakes are high when Sweden comes to Dublin this September...
It could have been Ireland’s game early on when Shane Long took his chances in the 10th minute from over 20 yards out.
It could have been Sweden’s game when Kim Kallstrom’s free kick broke through a wall of defenders in the 24th minute.
With a place in the 2014 World Cup at stake, tensions were high when the Republic of Ireland met Sweden in Stockholm back in March 2013.
But a goalless draw means tensions will be even higher in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, on September 6.
Will it be another draw? Or will one team come out on top to claim much needed points for a trip to Brazil next June?
Technically, Ireland’s football fans have had little enough to cheer about since they beat Estonia to reach Euro 2012. Croatia taught us a lesson in that competition, Shay Given must still have nightmares about Spain’s David Silva and Andres Iniesta; while Mario Balotelli barely celebrated his bicycle kick goal against us it was so easy.
Technically, the fans should have been in tears. And okay, some of them were. But they kept singing. Why?
The fans in the stadiums those nights weren’t cheering the loss. They were cheering their team. Still inside the minds of every Irish football fan are memories that keep them warm on emotionally cold nights like we experienced in at Euro 2012. Images of Roy Keane dominating midfield like the mythical Irish warrior Cuchulainn; Liam Brady shaking his hips and tearing past anyone who dared stand in his way. Then there’s Robbie Keane lashing the ball past Germany’s Oliver Kahn in what seemed the 90th minute of extra time.
Irish football fans love football, they love their team and they love the moment.
You just have to join them in the Dublin’s Aviva Stadium to understand...
Football stadiums are built with acoustics, space and comfort in mind. The Aviva Stadium has all those things – so imagine it filled with about 30,000 Irish football fans screaming, singing and wishing and willing their team to the World Cup 2014.
The fields of Athenry
The Fields of Athenry isn’t an official anthem, but the song has reached almost mythical status for Irish fans and it doesn’t take much to get them started.
Just see what these TV commentators thought of their singing during Euro 2012.
As it starts, it slowly winds through the terraces and builds. You know the players hear it. You can see the music physically lift their play. And you can see it in person if you're making a trip to Dublin for the big game.
The beautifully constructed Aviva isn’t the only stadium in Dublin worthy of a tour.
On a tour of the Croke Park Stadium and museum tour, learn all about the home of native sports, Gaelic football and hurling. The stadium’s Skyline Tours promise a breathtaking view of the capital – just make sure you bring your head for heights.
After the match, fans put their allegiances aside and find a corner in a traditional Irish pub for some post-match analysis over a pint of Guinness. Maybe it will be a pub that Joyce or Yeats would have sat in as they wrote one of their literary masterpieces.
If you’re impressed with the native drink, take a tour of the Guinness Storehouse and see why it will be the home of the world-famous stout for 1,000 years.
So you see, although we’re willing our team to book their tickets to Brazil, an international football match in Ireland is much more than just 90 minutes...