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Ireland start Staunton era with 3-0 win over Sweden

Written by: Staff
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DUBLIN, Mar 2 (Reuters) Ireland gave new coach Steve Staunton a perfect start with an assured 3-0 victory over World Cup finalists Sweden in a friendly here.

The home side, who have not qualified for the finals in Germany, piled on the pressure from the start with Chelsea winger Damien Duff giving Sweden the most trouble early on.

Duff was finally rewarded with his first goal for Ireland since November 2003, his shot after cutting into the box deflecting in off Sweden's Olof Mellberg in the 36th minute.

Ireland dominated throughout, while Sweden, traditionally strong in defence, looked leaden-footed at the back.

Tottenham's Robbie Keane, wearing the captain's armband for the first time, scored two minutes into the second half after being released by Levante's Ian Harte.

Liam Miller, currently on loan to Leeds from Manchester United, capped a perfect night for Staunton, dashing through from midfield and blasting into the roof of the net from 20 yards.

Staunton, Ireland's most capped player, was appointed national team manager in January, replacing Brian Kerr who was sacked in October.

REUTERS DH RAI0425

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