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Ibrahimović scores four as Sweden beat England

Wednesday 14 November 2012 22.30 CET
Zlatan Ibrahimović produced a stellar performance for Sweden against England

Zlatan Ibrahimović produced a stunning performance to inspire Sweden to an impressive victory against England in the opening game at the Friends Arena in Solna.

Ibrahimović gave the hosts the perfect start in their first match at the new national stadium, but Sweden trailed at the break following two goals in four minutes from Danny Welbeck and debutant Steven Caulker. However, Sweden and Ibrahimović were not to be denied and the forward volleyed in an excellent equaliser on 77 minutes before scoring a long-range free-kick and an incredible overhead kick to seal the win.

After a timid opening the game was brought to life on 20 minutes and it was fitting that the first goal scored at Sweden's new home was by the recently named Swedish player of the year. Martin Olsson broke clear down the left and although Ibrahimović's first attempt was blocked by Gary Cahill, his second flew past Joe Hart and into the roof of the net.

Their lead lasted only 15 minutes, though, as 17-year-old Raheem Stirling, making his first international appearance, found Ashley Young on the left and the Manchester United FC winger's delightful cross was converted by club-mate Welbeck. Roy Hodgson's men were ahead soon after when Steven Gerrard, earning his 100th England cap, delivered a curling free-kick which was touched in from close range by Caulker.

Ibrahimović was at the heart of much of Sweden's good attacking play and he almost grabbed his second of the night when Alexander Kacaniklic fired in a low cross, but his attempt was deflected over by Caulker. The 31-year-old was in inspired form and scored a delightful equaliser, controlling Anders Svensson's clipped pass on his chest, evading the attentions of Ryan Shawcross and giving Hart no chance with a thunderous volley.

Not content with a share of the spoils, Ibrahimović lined up a free-kick from distance and found the bottom right-hand corner with a low venomous drive to edge Sweden in front. However, he was not finished there. The Paris Saint-Germain FC striker pounced on Hart's headed clearance in added time and scored with a speculative overhead from 30 metres to round off a stellar display.

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