Those responsible for the opening of Sweden’s brand new national stadium could barely have dreamt, let alone scripted, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s mesmeric performance against England on Wednesday.
Zlatan’s four goals have already been tattooed in indelible ink into the annuls of soccer history, however when the dust settles many may forget just what a brilliant all-round performance was displayed by the PSG attacker.
But before the analysis of Zlatan’s shift, consider a couple of stats:
(1) Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the first player to score a hat-trick against England since Marco van Basten in June 1988.
(2) Zlatan has now scored 15 international goals in 2012. By comparison, Ireland scored a total of 14 goals in the calendar year (including 4 each against Oman & the Faroe Islands), while Lionel Messi scored only 12 times for his national side.
Zlatan grabbed the first goal in the new national stadium with a superb striker’s finish with the outside of his boot, and for the remainder of the first half Zlatan continued to bring a major goal threat to the England defence. Often playing as the lone frontman with Mathias Ranegie in support, Zlatan was peppered with a variety of high and low passes fro his teammtes, which he invariably controlled to perfection before creating goal scoring opportunities.
The striker’s impact waned slightly in the opening passage of the second half, but that all changed after Ibra got his second goal of the game following a stunning piece of chest control followed by a quality volleyed finish.
In the final stages though, Zlatan stepped his game up several gears (with the help of a few poor moments for England keeper Joe Hart). Ibrahimovic capped his hat-trick with a long-range free-kick before he scored that goal which will be talked about for a long while to come.
Watch Zlatan’s incredible individual highlights v England below.