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Magic in the air for four-goal Ibrahimović

Thursday 15 November 2012 9.23 CET
Zlatan Ibrahimović celebrates after Sweden's 4-2 friendly win against England

Ninety minutes of football have now been played at Sweden's new national stadium – and it may already have witnessed the greatest goal ever to be scored there.

"Magic, magic," joked Zlatan Ibrahimović when asked to comment on his improvised overhead kick from 30 metres against England – his fourth goal of the night, which completed a 4–2 victory for the home side and made him the first player to score four against the Three Lions.

Ibrahimović had started the evening by registering the first goal at the newly built Friends Arena in Solna. His quickfire double, after 77 and 84 minutes, then helped Sweden reclaim the lead before he treated the 50,000-strong crowd to an outrageous 90th-minute bicycle kick that soared into the net. England goalkeeper Joe Hart had come out of his area to clear a long ball but failed to get enough purchase on a headed clearance, allowing the Sweden captain to take advantage. 

"I saw the keeper coming out and I knew he would be first to the ball," said the 31-year-old Paris Saint-Germain FC striker. "So I decided to back away. The ball came my way and I gave it a try."

Sweden coach Erik Hamrén spoke of the lasting impression the match will have had on football fans. "Many who came to this opening game will say that they were there when Zlatan scored four goals," he said. "The fourth one is one that you may never see again in your lifetime. It was absolutely unbelievable."

Hamrén's opposite number Roy Hodgson hailed Ibrahimović's late effort as "the crowning glory – a wonderful goal to see on a football field, although I would rather have seen it scored against somebody else." Midfielder Steven Gerrard, who won his 100th cap for England, added that it was "one of the best goals I've ever seen live".

Martin Olsson set up Ibrahimović for his 20th-minute opener yet was a mere spectator when the fourth goal sailed in. "I don't think any other player would have tried it," he told UEFA.com. "Not from there – it's just not possible. Especially when you are 3-2 up with minutes to go. The normal thing would have been to try to control the ball and head for the corner flag."

 

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