Paris (AFP) – Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill was full of praise for his team despite seeing them have to settle for a 1-1 draw with Sweden in their Euro 2016 opener.
“I thought they were magnificent in the game with some really great football,” said O’Neill after the Group E encounter at the Stade de France.
Wes Hoolahan gave Ireland a deserved lead with a terrific strike early in the second half in Paris, but Ciaran Clark’s own goal allowed Sweden to leave with a share of the points.
“We should have been at least in front by half-time. We were very, very dominant, we played great and then we got in front just after half-time.
“Naturally there is going to be a spell in the game where Sweden come into it, and they scored a goal at a time when we were still pretty strong.
“Of course the goal deflates you and there is disappointment in the dressing room, but I don’t think the players should be downhearted with their performance.
“I think they should be absolutely thrilled with the way we played.
“The way it happened of course, that’s the disappointment. We should be speaking to you here with three points instead of one.”
Ireland’s next game is against Belgium in Bordeaux on Saturday, with Italy their other opponents in Group E.