Sweden wrecked England captain Steven Gerrard’s 100th caps for England as they beat the Three Lions 4-2 in friendly match at the Scandinavian’s new national stadium. Sweden striker and captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave a five star performance and scored all four goals.
England manager Roy Hodgson introduced six debutants, defender Steven Caulker (Tottenham Hotspur), defender Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City), full back Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal), midfielder Leon Osman (Everton), winger Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), and striker Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace). The debut for Sterling means the Liverpool winger has become the 5th youngest player ever played for the Three Lions at 17 years 332 days.
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England were rocked early on as the hosts took a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes when Ibrahimovic poked home a close range rebound from his own strike, which Steven Caulker had blocked.
Five minutes later Tom Cleverley came agonisingly close to scoring from Glen Johnson’s ball into the box as the Three Lions looked to hit back early on.
While at the other end Mathias Ranegie should have extended the hosts’ lead on the half-hour mark but he fired over when the goal was open after a mix-up between Joe Hart and Caulker.
England equalised with 35 minutes on the clock. Debutant Raheem Sterling fired a fine pass to the left flank for Ashley Young and the winger flashed a delicious cross into the six-yard box for Manchester United club-mate Danny Welbeck to tuck home.
And three minutes later Roy Hodgson’s men took the lead as Steven Gerrard, on his 100th appearance crossed in a fine ball from a free-kick on the right and Caulker, ghosting in at the far post, fired home past Andreas Isaksson.
In the second half Daniel Sturridge came off the bench to replace Young (61st minute), Jack Wilshere for Tom Cleverley (62nd minute), Carl Jenkinson for Glen Johnson (75th minute), Ryan Shawcross for Caulker (75th minute), and Huddlestone for Gerrard (75th minute). The new batch of players seemed to open up England defense and that’s when Ibrahimovic started his scoring spree. In the 77th minute he was equalizing from Svensson simple pass and hit a volley pas England goal keeper Joe Hart. Then in 84th minute the Swedes got a free kick and he fired it low into the corner for his hat-trick.
But the most incredible goal of the evening came after 90 minutes when, following Hart’s header outside the area, Ibrahimovic launched a stupendous overhead kick from 25-yards over the Three Lions defence and in to the back of the net to make it 4-2 and complete a memorable evening at the Friends Arena.
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