This is not the way England planned on celebrating Steven Gerrard’s 100th cap and the debuts of 6 new players on the squad. Sweden marked the opening of their new stadium with a remarkable 4-2 win against England in a friendly match. The game saw an amazing comeback from the Swedes, and although it was only a friendly, it was a match that football fans will never forget. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was clearly the star of the match, single-handedly crushed the English, completing a hat trick and then scoring a fourth goal that could well be one of the best goals in the history of football.
Ibrahimovic fired the opener in the 20th minute, putting Sweden up 1-0 halfway through the 1st half. But the Three Lions responded fairly quickly, netting 2 goals thanks to Danny Welbeck and Steven Caulker, putting Roy Hodgson’s side a 2-1 lead at the half-way mark. But Ibrahimovic’s time to shine was yet to come. 14 minutes into the 2nd half, England still had the lead, and Tom Huddlestone, Ryan Shawcross, and Carl Jenkinson were substituted in just in time for the show. With ease, Ibrahimovic dodged Shawcross and scored a powerful equalizer past goalkeeper Joe Hart. Just 7 minutes later, Ibrahimovic put another one in the back of the net from a free-kick 35 yards out, putting Sweden in the lead with the score of 3-2.
But England did not at all expect the grand finale Ibrahimovic staged 47 seconds into stoppage time. The English defense cleared the ball, and Joe Hart made a mess of a headed clearance that went up rather than out. 30 yards away from the goal, Ibrahimovic made a perfect propeller kick, which met the ball 8 feet away from the ground.
And the stadium went quiet as England and Sweden fans alike watched the path of the ball. It went flying over the goalkeeper, and after 2 seconds and without a single bounce, the ball flew into the top right corner of the open goal. The wonder goal drew standing ovations from the entire arena, and Ibrahimovic ripped off his shirt and threw it at the crowd in celebration. He merely shrugged when the referee showed him a yellow card, and he continued to rejoice with his team.
Ibrahimovic was unmatched by any player, in yellow or in white, and his amazing goal will be remembered for generations to come. Unfortunately for him, it was scored just after FIFA closed the window for the “Goal of the Year Award,” but he could easily win the title next year. No one has scored a hat trick on England since Marco van Basten in 1988, and never has anyone scored 4 before Ibrahimovic.