England stunned by Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

First published in Sport

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's four goals stole the limelight from England centurion Steven Gerrard, who described the Sweden striker's performance as ''world class''.

The Paris St Germain striker led his side to a 4-2 victory over Roy Hodgson's outfit at the newly opened Friends Stadium in Stockholm.

The fourth was a particular highlight, a bicycle kick from outside the area after goalkeeper Joe Hart failed to clear.

It was the first time England had tasted defeat under Hodgson in 90 minutes and Gerrard was full of praise for the game's main protagonist.

''I still stick by Zinedine Zidane, he is the best player in the world as the best player of his generation, but his (Ibrahimovic's) performance was world class and he just scored one of the best goals I seen live,'' Gerrard said.

''It was his night. If someone scores four goals and the way he scored them....it's one of the best I've seen.

''There were a lot of positives from our point of view, a lot of young players playing their first games and we can take a lot from this game.''

England seemed to have the game under control when they were 2-1 ahead thanks to goals from debutant Steven Caulker and second-half substitute Danny Welbeck, but a host of changes allowed the hosts to get back into the game.

''When you make more than three substitutions it does spoil the game,'' Gerrard said.

''The manager is under pressure from other managers and he is respecting those mangers because those players are playing in Europe and it does upset the rhythm.

''We were comfortable until we made changes.''

Asked about making his 100th appearance, Gerrard added: ''This is a special shirt for me. I'll give this to my dad and it will be a nice present for him.''

Hodgson acknowledged Ibrahimovic's performance but felt more could have been done to prevent him completing such a haul.

''The fourth goal was extraordinary, but it was the second and third goals which cost us,'' he said. ''For 70 minutes we were playing very well and we deserved to be in the lead, but we made changes and they took the initiative.

''During the 94 minutes today we did some good things.''

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