Posted November 14, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Zlatan Ibrahimovic illuminated a low-key night of international friendlies on Wednesday, scoring an audacious overhead kick from 30 yards to cap his four-goal display in Sweden's 4-2 win over England.
Ibrahimovic's one-man show in Stockholm - featuring what both his opponents and pundits hailed as one of the greatest goals seen in recent years - overshadowed two high-profile matches between fierce European rivals, with the Netherlands and Germany drawing 0-0 and France coming from behind to beat Italy 2-1 away.
The prolific Lionel Messi was kept scoreless as Argentina was held 0-0 in Saudi Arabia while Portugal, missing the injured Cristiano Ronaldo, surprisingly drew 2-2 in Gabon.
It was left to another of the world's leading strikers to take the plaudits, with Ibrahimovic's acrobatic strike with his back to goal described by England captain Steven Gerrard - who made his 100th international appearance as ''one of the best goals I've ever seen live.''
''When I saw the goalkeeper was out I tried to put it against the goal, and luckily it went in,'' Ibrahimovic said. ''It's both luck and skill.''
The enigmatic Ibrahimovic punished England with a stand-out all-round performance to mark the opening of Sweden's new national stadium, the Friends Arena.
After poking Sweden ahead in the 20th minute from close range, the Paris Saint-Germain striker equalized for 2-2 by chesting down Anders Svensson's lofted pass and volleying home past Joe Hart.
Ibrahimovic's skimming free kick, also from 35 yards, somehow beat Hart before the Sweden captain caused more embarrassment for the goalkeeper by capping the victory in stoppage time.
Hart's weak headed clearance was latched onto by Ibrahimovic, who span and produced a bicycle kick that looped into an empty net from well outside the area and from an angle.
''I don't know if you're going to see another one like that in your life,'' Sweden coach Erik Hamren said.
England's goals came from Danny Welbeck and debutant Steven Caulker in a four-minute span before halftime, with Hodgson also giving a first start to 17-year-old Liverpool prodigy Raheem Sterling.
It was the second straight match that Sweden had scored four goals - on the first occasion, it came from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with Germany in a World Cup qualifier last month.
The Germans kept a clean sheet on Wednesday in a dull stalemate with the Netherlands in Amsterdam, with both countries electing to start with fringe players because of injury or illness. With this round of friendlies coming in between two weekends of domestic play in Europe's leagues, most of the teams didn't have their first-choice lineups out.
Germany was looking to claim a third win over its bitter rival in 12 months but Marco Reus missed a chance to clinch victory for the visitors in injury time.
''We played very well against one of the best teams in Europe,'' Germany coach Joachim Loew said.
Italy slipped to its sixth consecutive friendly defeat when Bafetimbi Gomis struck in the 67th minute from Patrice Evra's pass.
''We achieved a great result here in Italy, against the runners-up in Europe, a side with a lot of quality, even though they lacked some key players today,'' France coach Didier Deschamps said.
Stephen El Shaarawy gave Italy the lead in Parma in the 35th with his first international goal, only for Mathieu Valbuena to equalize two minutes later thanks to a superb solo goal.
The in-form Luis Suarez scored in the second half to cap Uruguay's 3-1 win in Poland but South American rival Argentina lacked a cutting edge in Saudi Arabia, with Messi failing in his bid to set an outright record for the most goals for the country in a calendar year.
Messi shares the record with Gabriel Batistuta with 12 goals.
''We didn't play a good match, from the beginning we didn't do the things we needed to do,'' Messi said. ''We basically gave away the first half, and in the second we played a little bit better, but not much.''
BEST OF MAXIM
HEELS OVER HEAD
Sweden and England met up in an international friendly on Wednesday at Sweden’s new national stadium, and the home squad came away with a 4-2 victory, thanks to striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s quartet of goals. If you happened to be watching this match you might have thought that Ibrahimovic’s third goal, scored on a gorgeous free kick, might have been the best one of the day...
Zlatan Ibrahimovic need not apologize to Michael Bradley. He won the award for “Best Goal in a Midweek International Soccer Game” fair and square.
The Swedish striker buried England’s hopes for victory with four goals, but it was his last one, an out-of-this-world bicycle-kick, which makes us beam with delight.
With Sweden leading 3-2 in second-half stoppage time, Ibrahimovic chased...
Ibracadabra. Ibrahimagique. Goal from the Gods.
Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the toast of the football world - and newspaper headlines - on Thursday after scoring with a magical bicycle kick from 30 yards out in a friendly match against England.
The debate is on: Was it the greatest goal of the year? Of this century? Of all time?
Ibrahimovic's acrobatic strike certainly...
Here on Outside the Boxscore, we have shown you some impressive soccer goals but Sweden's
Zlatan Ibrahimovic put together a bicycle kick for the ages in a friendly against England.
Nearing the end of the second half with Sweden up 3-2, English goalie Joe Hart attempted to clear the ball out of his zone but ended up heading it right to Zlatan.
Watch as Ibrahimovic scores...
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored what might have been the best goal of his great soccer career on Wednesday in an international friendly between Sweden and England. In the waning moments of the game, Ibrahimovic took a header from England’s goalkeeper and scored one of the longest and most brilliant bicycle kicks you’re ever likely to see.
Imbrahimovic scored all four of Sweden’s...
Check out Swedish player Zlatan Ibrahimovic's unbelievable bicycle
goal vs. England yesterday. Sweden went on to beat the English 4-2 on 4
goals from Ibrahimovic. Screw the hat trick 4 goals is better than
three anyday. What an unbelievable performance from the Swede and a
nomination for goal of the year in all of soccer. Just can't get over
You may have already seen the long-range bicycle kick goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Sweden's 4-2 victory over England on Wednesday. But, it's worth watching again. And again. And again.
Here it is:
Check out multiple GIFs of the goal at The Last Angry Fan.
Thigh Five: Bob's Blitz
Get the latest Thigh updates by following us on Facebook & Twitter...
Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Steven Gerrard has qualities that set him apart from other English players.
The pair will shake hands ahead of Gerrard’s 100th England cap in Stockholm’s Rasunda Stadium on Wednesday night.
And Ibrahimovic admits he is full of respect for his fellow international skipper.
“I think Steven Gerrard is a fantastic player,” he said. “He...
Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic has urged England counterpart Steven Gerrard to quit Liverpool and move to "a big international club".
Gerrard is poised to win his 100th cap in Wednesday night's friendly international between the two countries to mark the opening of the Friends Arena in Stockholm.
Ibrahimovic is a big admirer of Gerrard but feels he should leave...
Each day we'll bring you the very latest tabloid rumors as the biggest clubs around splash the cash to bolster their rosters. True or not, they're always entertaining...
Defiant Brendan Rodgers has told Manchester City : Luis Suarez is not for sale.
Arsenal passed up the chance to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Malmo for £3million 12 years ago.
Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti has sought to play down controversial comments he made about PSG ahead of Saturday's clash between the sides.
On Thursday Antonetti described PSG as "an Italian club playing in France" and also questioned their sporting director Leonardo's criticism of referee Clement Turpin after last week's draw with Montpellier.
Zinedine Zidane has described Zlatan Ibrahimovic as “an extraordinary player” following his four goals against England, with the Frenchman in awe of the Swedish striker’s overhead kick.
Majeed Waris has been crowned the Swedish best player of the season
By Akyereko Frimpong Manson
Black Stars striker Abdul Majeed Waris was crowned the Swedish Allsvenskan best player of the season on Monday.
The 21-year-old beat team-mate Martin Ericsson, Malmo FF’s Pontus Jansson and Anders Svensson of IF Elfsborg to the award.
Waris won the golden shoe award after emerging...