x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Ibrahimovic caps four-goal performance over England with overhead strike

Watch that goal: The Swedish captain led by example as his side ran out 4-2 winners against England in Stockholm.

Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores against England during their friendly.
Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores against England during their friendly.

England suffered their first defeat in normal time of the Roy Hodgson era as four-goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic earned Sweden a 4-2 win in Stockhom.

The Swedish captain broke the deadlock only for England to retaliate with goals before half-time from Danny Welbeck and debutant Steven Caulker.

But Ibrahimovic had the final say with a brilliant second-half treble including an outrageous overhead kick for his final goal.

Eirik Hamren, the Sweden coach, hailed his captan's performance after the match.

"Sometimes, you think you are looking at a video game where you can do all these incredible things," he said.

"The fourth goal is not possible."

Leon Osman produced the first attempt on goal, forcing a low save out of Andreas Isaksson away to his right after being teed up by Welbeck.

But after 20 minutes Ibrahimovic broke the deadlock. Raheem Sterling was dispossessed by Martin Olsson inside the Swedish half and the Blackburn player surged down the left wing after exchanging passes with Math Ranegie.

His cross was seized on by Ibrahimovic whose first shot was blocked by Caulker but he reacted first to the rebound and poked it past Joe Hart.

England were level after 35 minutes courtesy of Welbeck, who had scored the winner in the Euro 2012 clash with the Swedes.

Sterling's pass found Ashley Young in space on the left and he produced a trademark cross which Manchester United team-mate Welbeck volleyed home at the far post.

Three minutes later Caulker marked his debut by putting England in front.

The Swedes were unable to deal with a Steven Gerrard free-kick from 30 yards out and Caulker stole in between two defenders to prod the ball home.Ryan Shawcross was at fault moments after coming on for Sweden's equaliser.

The Stoke player was left trailing in the wake of Ibrahimovic's quickfire turn to run onto a pass from Anders Svensson which he fired past Hart.

With six minutes left Ibrahimovic completed his hat-trick when his low free-kick flew through past several players into the corner of the net and Ibrahimovic then scored a stunning fourth goal in injury-time with an overhead kick from outside the box after a weak clearance header by Hart.

Hodgson was full of praise for Ibrahimovich's wonder strike, describing it afterwards as 'the crowning glory'.

"It is a wonderful goal," he added.  "I would rather have seen it against someone else."

The England coach was keen to find positives despite a nervy performance from goalkeeper Joe Hart.

"He is a very good goalkeeper," he said.

"We think we will have a lot of success with him in the goal even if tonight it wasn't maybe one of his best days, this happens in football."