As one Liverpool player reached an unforgettable milestone for England on Wednesday night, another took his first steps in what he hopes will be a long and successful international career.
All the attention was rightly on Steven Gerrard, as he made his 100th appearance for the Three Lions, but it was also a big night for Raheem Sterling as he was handed a debut by Roy Hodgson in the 4-2 defeat by Sweden.
Sterling, who became Liverpool’s youngest ever England player, stayed on the field for 84 minutes and showed some impressive touches while Gerrard and Glen Johnson enjoyed a 74-minute run-out.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired Sweden in front but England came back to lead 2-1 just before half-time.
Sterling played a part in the equalizer when his brilliant pass found Ashley Young, who crossed for Manchester United teammate Danny Welbeck to score.
Gerrard then provided the assist with a superb free-kick delivery which found Tottenham Hotspur’s Steven Caulker, who converted to take the score to 2-1.
Ibrahimovic was to have the final word though as he pounced for 2-2 before firing a free-kick past Joe Hart for his hat-trick to make it 3-2.
In stoppage time Ibrahimovic then produced a moment of pure magic with a stunning overhead kick from well outside the area to make the final score 4-2.
“This was a special night for me and I’m going to give the shirt to my dad,” Gerrard said about his 100th international game. “He has supported me all the way through and it will be a nice present for him.
“Ibrahimovic’s performance was world class and full credit to him. He scored one of the best goals I’ve ever seen live so it was his night.
“There were a lot of positives from our point of view as there were a lot of young boys out there making their debut.”
Meanwhile, Luis Suarez was on the mark as Uruguay won 3-1 in Poland. Liverpool’s No. 7 played for 86 minutes.
Nuri Sahin also played for 86 minutes as Turkey came from behind to draw 1-1 with Denmark. Daniel Agger was rested and wasn’t included in the Denmark squad.
Photo via LiverpoolFC.com