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Ireland coach issues Zlatan Ibrahimovic warning

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Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has warned his players not to focus solely on stopping Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic ahead of the sides meeting in Dublin tonight.

Ibrahimovic will be a huge threat in the World Cup qualifying tie but the Italian was keen to highlight that Sweden are a good all-round side.

The Republic are currently tied second on points in Group C with Austria and Sweden, five adrift of leaders Germany, meaning a win in tonight's tie for Trapattoni's men could prove invaluable in their attempts to claim a play-off spot.

But the 74-year-old is aware of the quality on show in the Swedish team.

"There are players like Ibra, like [Lionel] Messi, like Robbie [Keane], the goalscorers - they have a feeling for the goal," he said.

"A long time ago, I was a player, I was a player like 'Okay, there is Pele, put Trapattoni on Pele. Trapattoni doesn't play, Pele doesn't play'. It was okay.

"Today, football has changed and it's impossible to put Messi, for example, under lock and key.

"It's impossible because the team allows him to keep the ball. You can't put two men against Messi.

"Ibra is Ibra. He can score, he can play where he wants - he can play back, he can play as a striker and it will be important for us not to follow him because there are other players - there is the Sweden team."

When the sides met in Stockholm back in March they played out a 0-0 draw with none of the usual Ibrahimovich flair on show.

However, captain Keane is insistent that Ireland cannot rely on a repeat performance from the Paris Saint Germain forward.

"With players like Zlatan, everyone is watching him to see what he's going to do and thinking he is going to do something special all the time," said the former Liverpool and Tottenham striker.

"But sometimes, it doesn't work like that and the way we played in Stockholm certainly frustrated the Swedish team and they didn't get much service to Zlatan, so in that respect it was probably a difficult game for him.

"But you can't play well all the time and hopefully we can keep him quiet as well because we know how important he is to Sweden and at any given time, he can produce something out of nowhere, so we have to be very, very wary of him."

Friday also sees two other group C clashes with Germany hosting Austria and the Faroe Islands travelling to Kazakhstan.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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