Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni launched an impassioned defence of his reign after seeing his side's hopes of World Cup qualification all but blown out of the water.

A 2-1 home defeat by Sweden, who along with Austria were level on points with the Republic in joint-second place in Group C before kick-off, left Erik Hamren's men in pole position to claim the runners-up spot with three games remaining.

However, as his future came under intense scrutiny once again - the 74-year-old Italian only just survived in his post after a 6-1 qualifying defeat by group leaders Germany in October last year - he was refusing to admit defeat.

Asked if he expected to be in charge for the next qualifying campaign regardless of what happens during the rest of the current one, he replied: "If I look at what we have done in these two years, sure.

"It's not my duty, it's the federation's, but I wish to remind you since we started this, we have changed 15 players and we have played like the great teams in Europe.

"But it's not my decision, it's up to the FAI [Football Association of Ireland]."

"We have played like the great teams in Europe" - Giovanni Trapattoni

The evening had started so well for Ireland, who took a 22nd-minute lead when skipper Robbie Keane increased his international tally to 60 goals.

However, Johan Elmander headed the visitors level within 11 minutes and Sweden completed an impressive fightback 12 minutes after the break when veteran midfielder Anders Svensson made the most of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's inch-perfect through-ball.

The Republic head for Vienna on Tuesday evening knowing victory over a side which snatched a 2-2 draw at the death in Dublin in March is a must if they are to have any chance of resurrecting their dream.

However, Trapattoni brushed asides the boos which greeted the final whistle.

He said: "Our job until now has been very, very great. Obviously, supporters when they lose in Italy, here, in England, they boo. It's normal."

Hamren admitted he had been surprised at Ireland's approach but was delighted with the way his players recovered from a difficult start to significantly boost their own hopes of making it to Brazil next summer.

He said: "I was a little bit surprised by the way they played. In the last six, seven, eight months, it was more a passing game and more through the midfield.

"Today, it was a lot of long passes and they were good at that. They had promise from that especially in the first 20 minutes, but we managed to defend a little bit better those balls in the rest of the game.

"If you take away that first 20 minutes when we had some problems, after that we showed attitude and showed real strength. We were working as a team and came back to win the game."