There were plenty of teams to consider: Wales, with Gareth Bale; Poland, with Robert Lewandowski; the yet-to-play Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo. However, no team at Euro 2016 relies on one man as heavily as Sweden do, nor is any other team completely hopeless when their best player is not having his best game.
In order to get a result against the Irish, the story was a typical one for Sweden, who had to rely on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The last Swedish player to touch the ball before Ciaran Clark headed it into his own net was, of course, their captain, who sent a brilliant ball into the box to do so. Despite getting the equalizing assist, though, Ibrahimovic was largely unseen. He managed three shots, but not a single one was on frame. He was dispossessed on four occasions, and won only four of his 17 attempted duels.
The performance of the whole Sweden team overall was not much better. Though final possession statistics benefit the Swedes, their time as the dominant side during the match was relatively small. Sweden controlled the game in between conceding a goal to Wes Hoolahan in the 48th minute and scoring in the 71st minute. Other than that 23-minute period, Ireland took the game to them, testing goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson, who made three saves in the 1-1 draw.
In attack, where Ibrahimovic failed, no one else picked up the slack. Fellow striker Marcus Berg also looked invisible, recording one shot, which was not on target either. Sebastian Larsson was active in the match's early stages, but he fizzled out rather quickly after a strong beginning. He made no key passes, and had no shots to his name, either.
Sweden managed a total of seven shots, which is close in comparison to their opponents' nine. However, not a single one of those shots were on target. They left opposing goalkeeper Darren Randolph relatively unseen, despite the West Ham man having to make one save.
In comparison to other potential one-man teams, Bale did score his nation's first goal in their tournament history, but Hal Robson-Kanu scored the game winner and Joe Allen walked away as the Man of the Match. A similar situation was true for Poland, where the stars of the day were goalscorer Arkadiusz Milik and teen Bartosz Kapustka. These teams will always be famous for their stars, but these teams are clearly more than their most famous and successful players.
Sweden has their equivalent to Bale and Lewandowski, an equivalent who may outrank the other two in many ways. However, if you look for Sweden's Allen or Kapustka to set the tone in midfield and build a flourishing attack, there was not one to be found against Ireland. Sweden also do not have a player who can score on a day their big man cannot, much like Wales and Poland had from Robson-Kanu and Milik.
In a tournament designed to give a more competitive edge to teams who would not usually get the chance with a lesser number of teams in competition, Sweden have not given a convincing sign that they can capitalize. They may still make it out of their group due to the generous rules allowing four out of six third-place teams to make it to the next round, but against more complete sides in their group alone could prove to be too challenging for the Ibrahimovic-reliant Swedes.