Ireland 7 – Sweden 6

How many times over the past few weeks have we heard Sweden described as a one man team?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic this, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, that. The man, the myth, the legend, the enigma. Is he arrogant? Is he misunderstood?

Sweden Training and Press Conference - Group D: UEFA EURO 2012

Zlatan, this is going to get musical! 

All well and good but what about Frans Jeppsson-Wall? Or Frans as he is more commonly known…

No, Frans is not some obscure but prodigiously talented left back playing for Helsingborg…

Frans had a very fair shot of breaking Irish hearts just last month. In the Eurovision Song Contest.

Ireland’s great rivalry with the Swedes has so long been in Eurovision. Yes, Ireland and Sweden are like the Springboks and All Blacks of the Pan-European (and Australian!) music festival…

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Ireland hold the record of seven victories but have become something of a faded power as it is 20 years since Eimear Quinn was the last winner of Ireland’s 1990’s “Golden Era”… And Swedes could have drawn level this year…

Somehow despite the block voting of the late 1990’s and naughties, the Swedes survived and thrived notching up six wins with two of these coming in quick succession in 2012 and 2015 thanks to the country’s knack for producing EDM (that’s Electronic Dance Music  to the uncool kids out there!) with the same efficiency with which they have become renowned for producing stylish flatpack furniture, grim yet gripping crime fiction and luxurious yet safe automobiles…

However, unlike Loreen and Mans who took Sweden’s two most recent Eurovision crowns… Frans was less inspired by Avicii and more a mash up of Ed Sheehan and Justin Bieber 2.0 but perhaps what is less known internationally about the 17 year-old Scandipop sensation is that he is something of a veteran…

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Frans: From child star to Eurovision star… All thanks to Zlatan? 

Frans had his first number one as a seven year old back in the summer of 2006… And who was the inspiration for that song?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic…

Fast forward ten years and Frans hasn’t changed that much… Well instead instead of crooning his love for Zlatan he is singing a revenge post-break up number If I Were Sorry that has rather a maudlin message if you take away the catchy beat… He still has a wooly hat but check out the bleak setting of the music video… Very Scandinavian noir… So it is not at all surprising that Frans hails from Ystad, the stomping ground the fictional detective Kurt Wallander…

Some Eurovision diehards were not too keen on Frans 2016 entry If I Were Sorry… Possibly because it was not quite as fab-u-lous as previous Swedish entries but the Swedes had a soft spot for the little boy who sang the famous words, “Zlatan, Zlatan, I love you, Ich liebe dich, Zlatan Ibrahimovic” (the song was written for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, hence the the “Ich liebe dich”… The Swedes also have excellent taste when it comes to trendsetting pop music (Hello, Abba? Avicii?) and Frans may have finished fifth in the Eurovision but has been possibly the biggest commercial success of 2016…

Frans’ loss on the Eurovision stage meant that Ireland maintained their record… So, if that isn’t an omen for Ireland versus Sweden, I don’t know what is?!

Mind you Nicky Byrne also laced up his football boots ahead of this year’s Eurovision (see video below) and the former Leeds United hopeful goalie turned Westlife superstar couldn’t even get of his group!

 

PS Interestingly Frans’ fellow countrywoman Zara Larsson is singing the official Euro 2016 song with French EDM maestro David Guetta…. This One’s For You could have easily been a Eurovision entry!

But before I bid you adieu to watch how events unfold in St Denis, here is another blast of Baby Frans back in the day – you won’t forget “I love you, Ich liebe dich Zlatan Ibrahimovic” in a hurry!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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