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Dublin: 8°C Friday 15 January 2021
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Are Swedes excited about the match? We called them to ask. We're still not sure.

We learned a lot about Anna’s plans for the midsummer festival though. Anyone for lobster?

A Swede. This afternoon.
A Swede. This afternoon.
Image: Shutterstock/Kaloriya

IT’S ALL KICKING off, at last.

All over the country, people have been arranging time off work so they can catch Ireland’s clash with Sweden in the Euros.

Pubs are already filling up in the towns and cities.

Parents, across the back gardens of the nation, are poring over the Met Éireann app and wondering whether they could (maybe) think about considering dusting down the barbecue.

The match itself kicks off in Paris at 5pm, in case you were wondering.

And while by all accounts the Irish fans who have made the trip to France are fired up and ready to go, the weather forecast here at home is questionable at best (maybe risk some hotdogs, not so much with the baked potatoes).

Swede disposition 

So how are the Swedes getting on ahead of the big game?

Have they been propping up the bar in Malmo since lunchtime? Have they been stocking up on the six-packs in Stockholm?

Handily enough for the purposes of this article, there’s a popular number you can call to talk to random Swedes. Launched by the country’s tourist board to promote the country, it’s proven hugely popular since its launch back in April.

It’s a simple concept, really. Swedes who are interested in becoming part-time ambassadors for their country can download an app from the tourist association and make themselves available to chat whenever they have some free time.

Dublin calling… 

“You will soon be connected to a random Swede somewhere in Sweden,” a familiar robotic-sounding voice on the other end of the line says (I’ve done this before you know. Sweden’s going to think I’m stalking it). 

And then a less familiar message:

A lot of people are calling Sweden right now. Soon a random Swede will be ready to take your call.

There’s ten million of them.

They can’t all have gone to France, right?

shutterstock_298952429 Source: Shutterstock/BrAt82

An upbeat Swede soon comes on the line, however.

Yes, it’s Robin.

And after some brief confusion (he forgot he had downloaded the app, and thought I was trying to sell him things) we quickly got onto solid ground.

Robin will be watching the game at his girlfriend’s flat in Copenhagen, where he’s staying for a few days. In fact, he adds, he’ll be staying out of the pub for all of the group games.

And while Robin’s pretty certain there’s been a bit of excitement building, back over in his home country, ”I live out on an island outside Stockholm and it’s very quiet there”.

Encouragingly:

My friend in the town said there’s a lot of people out right now, getting ready.

shutterstock_76331014 Source: Shutterstock/almgren

Crabs or lobsters?

Perhaps there’s more of an atmosphere building in Sweden itself?

We dial again – this time getting through to Anna, who’s spending the afternoon gardening at her summerhouse around 60 miles north of Stockholm.

Unfortunately for us there’s not much happening where she is either, it turns out.

My husband is going to watch the football game. I’m gardening… I haven’t seen so much football but I think I will look at Ireland and Sweden.

And how does she rate her side’s chances?

“I think Ireland will win,” comes the ever-so-diplomatic response (someone’s taking the ‘be an ambassador for your country’ thing very seriously).

Anna isn’t letting us off the phone without asking a few questions of her own, it soon becomes clear.

After a few queries about Irish geography and weather, we get to talking about her preparations for the upcoming mid-summer festival and what her family will be eating and drinking (there are lots of lobsters involved, or possibly crabs – the whole thing got a little lost in translation. It sounds lovely anyway).

We steer the conversation back to this evening…

It appears some family friends may call over.

But they might come on Thursday instead.

Either way, Anna and her husband are pretty relaxed about the whole thing.

shutterstock_38957065 Source: Shutterstock/Oleksiy Mark

We dial again… Third time lucky?

Not so much, it turns out.

Our final call lands right in the heart of Stockholm. But the friendly young woman who answers, Felicia, says she has next to no interest in football.

“I might have a look at the score so I know what’s going on.

That’s it really.

Call back later 

It was a decent enough plan, but our freephone attempt to glean some local colour from our friends in the north before kick-off appears to have failed.

Other random Swedes are also available, it should be pointed out.

Here’s the number, in fact, if you want to call them.

But if you’re looking to talk to ones who are particularly excited about the football, you’re probably better off randomly calling France…

Read: We called the new Dial-a-Swede number to talk to random Swedes >

LIVE: Ireland v Sweden, Euro 2016 >

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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