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November 14, 2012
• Friends Arena, Solna
Referee: S. Moen
• Attendance: 49967
Z. Ibrahimovic 20', 78', 84', 90'+
D. Welbeck 35'
S. Caulker 38'
Thanks for joining me tonight and please, make the first thing you do is watch Ibrahimovic's fourth goal. Actually, watch all of them. Over and over again. Goodnight!
So Sweden's three goals in the final 13 minutes wins an entertaining encounter in Stockholm but, make no mistake, there is only one talking point to take from the goal. Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
90' + 4'
And the final whistle is blown! Ibrahimovic's quite remarkable four-goal haul wins the contest in impressive fashion.
90' + 2'
It might be a snap reaction, but that is one of the best goals I have ever seen. To even attempt it is one thing, but to pull it off... again, wow.
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Zlatan Ibrahimovic
90' + 1'
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
GOAL!! WOW. Wow. I cannot quite believe I've just seen that. A long ball forward is headed clear by Hart outside of his area. Ibrahimovic, who is tracking the goalkeeper, follows the flight of the clearance, swivels and hits an overhead kick from 35 yards that loops high into the area and drops over the line. That was stunning.
There will be four minutes of added time.
Yellow Card Jack Wilshere
So, almost as quickly as England turned the game in their favour during the first half, Sweden match the feat. Gerrard & Co. have just three minutes, plus added time, to salvage a (meaningless) point.
Pontus Sven Gustav Jansson
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
GOAL!! Ibrahimovic has his hat-trick! I said not to rule it out! Kacaniklic wins a free kick after Shawcross' clumsy foul 30 yards from goal. The striker steps up and drives a low shot across the face of Hart's goal and in off the inside of the far post.
Uh oh. Sweden have won a free kick here and Ibrahimovic is lurking...
Ibrahimovic for a hat-trick in the opening game of the Friends Arena? Would not rule it out.
Assist Anders Svensson
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
GOAL!! Ibrahimovic equalises with a great volley! Svensson picks up the ball 30 yards from goal, looks up and spots the striker on Shawcross' shoulder. A simple dinked through-ball from the midfielder is killed on the chest by the talisman before a first-time effort is directed past Hart. Welcome to international football Shawcross.
A whole host of changes for England as Shawcross and Jenkinson come on for their England debuts, while Huddlestone comes on for just his fourth appearance.
The delivery is sent in but is headed clear at the first attempt before Elm thunders in a volley from 25 yards that flies high and wide.
A well-worked move by Sweden between Elm, Lustig and Ranegie around the edge of the England penalty area ends with Caulker conceding a corner...
The game has turned a tad turgid in the last couple of minutes. Neither side have too much luck in the final third and the pitch is getting worse by the second.
Yellow Card Andreas Granqvist
Ooof! Gerrard just cannot resist a back-spinning ball trundling slowly away from goal, and this time is no different. The captain runs onto it and shows great technique to keep his low drive down, but it flashes the wrong side of the post.
But, Sweden's threat is improving. Lustig does well to down the right but his cross into the area is over-hit. Another waste. Like I said, "not clicking".
Oh, and here is the PSG man again with an audacious effort on the half-volley from 25 yards. He had space to run into there. That was a waste.
Ibrahimovic has been quiet since his effort at the start of the second half, but he does well to hold off Caulker and fire in an effort on the angle. Sweden are just not clicking at the moment.
Wilshere has come on to represent England for the first time since his injury in June 2011. Cleverely makes way. Meanwhile, Sturridge joins the action in place of Young. Kallstrom comes off for Svensson for Sweden.
Well, nearly. It coincides with Sweden's first attempt at goal in over 10 minutes as Hart messes up a hanging cross and can only push it as far as Kallstrom 25 yards out, but the midfielder's first-time effort on the half-volley fizzes over the bar.
Sweden seem a little subdued so the crowd attempt to wake them up with a short burst of claps and shouts. Will it work?
Gerrard, provider for the majority of the game, has his first shot on target from 30 yards that stings Isaksson's hands after swerving through the area.
England continue to pile on the pressure as Osman's tame shot is deflected off target. Gerrard plays it short to Baines, who proceeds to find Sterling in an offside position. Threat over.
England are finding their feet again in this half, and are most definitely the team on top. Sterling wins another free kick which Gerrard plays short to Osman to have a snap-shot on the angle from just inside the area. Isaksson does well to get down quickly and make the save.
Here is Tom McKeown again: "Roy Hodgson clearly liked what he saw in the first half, electing to keep his substitutes waiting at the start of the second 45. The England boss is obviously keen to get a result tonight and doesn't want to upset the first-half momentum. The hosts, meanwhile, only make one change, throwing on Behrang Safari for Martin Olsson."
Now it's England's turn to attack as Baines (who has been fairly quiet) sends in a great whipped delivery across the face of Isaksson's goal, but Cleverley can only direct behind after arriving late at the back post.
Sweden go straight on the attack through second-half substitute Safari's (who replaced Olsson) dart down the left, but his cross into the area is headed clear by Cahill.
And we are back underway at Friends Arena, where England lead Sweden 2-1.
Here are Tom McKeown's half-time thoughts: "It's been an odd opening 45 minutes in Stockholm. The atmosphere has been disappointingly limp in the new stadium, and England have done well to dampen the home fans' spirits by coming from behind to take a lead into the break. The front three have all impressed for Roy Hodgson's side, and Steven Gerrard's balls into the box have been an ever-present threat. Defensively, communication seems to be a real issue for the Three Lions, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic's finish showed all the quality and improvisation that makes him one of Europe's top strikers."
45' + 2'
And the half-time whistle is blown. England lead 2-1 in Stockholm after an impressive three-minute turnaround.
As we enter the single minute of stoppage time, Tom McKeown chimes in: "Roy's young guns are firing on all cylinders tonight, and it's 20-year-old Steven Caulker who gives England the lead. Steven Gerrard's free-kick was nothing short of sublime and landed the ball square in front of the Tottenham defender, who had the easiest of tasks to force the ball into the net."
And it is delivered in well, but Caulker powers the ball away.
Here's a chance. Olsson wins a free kick a good 30 yards from goal near the touchline. Larsson, well-known set-piece taker, has a glint in his eye...
England, understandably, are playing with far more confident and ease now.
Sweden are a tad stunned but, true to form, it hasn't fazed Ibrahimovic who goes close less than a minute after Caulker's goal when latching onto Kacaniklic's driven cut-back into the area.
Assist Steven Gerrard
Goal Steven Caulker
GOAL!! England take the lead and it's one of the debutants in Steven Caulker! Sterling is again fouled and wins the free kick. Captain Gerrard bends in a superb delivery to the back post and Caulker runs onto and side-foots past Isaksson. A three-minute turnaround from England!
Assist Ashley Young
Goal Danny Welbeck
GOAL!! England equalise!! A really well-worked goal as Young, who have otherwise been pretty poor, nips away from Lustig and whips in a perfectly flighted ball for Welbeck to steer into the net from six yards. 1-1!
England are just not clicking at the moment. They have a decent opening after Gerrard loops the ball back into the area after a corner is initially cleared, but Cahill and Welbeck are offside.
And a chance for Sweden, but this is all England's making. A simple over-the-top pass seems easy enough to deal with for Cahill but, for the second time this game, the defender and goalkeeper Hart hesitate to allow the hosts in. It should be 2-0 after Ibrahimovic squares to Ranegie with Hart stranded, but the striker sends the ball over the bar.
...and here is an example of that as Kacaniklic collects the ball with his back to goal inside the area, swivels and has a pop but Hart parrys.
England are improving here, but Sweden look very dangerous on the counter-attack.
Ooof, England nearly equalise! Sterling gets away from his marker and feeds Johnson on the edge of the area. A quick shimmy and the right-back takes a pop. The shot is going off target and even Cleverley instinctively sticking out a boot cannot guide it goalwards. It was mighty close though.
Despite taking the lead, Sweden head coach Hamren is looking slightly irked on the bench. On the pitch, England are trying to get a foothold in the game as Sterling is again taken down via some heavy-handed tackling.
Here is Tom McKeown again: "It had to be him, really, didn't it? After a lacklustre start in Stockholm, Sweden's talisman grabs the opening goal and the first in the new Friends Arena. Steven Caulker did well to block the first effort, but was unlucky to see the ball land straight back at Ibrahimovic's feet, and the Sweden No.10 provided an emphatic finish into the top corner."
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
GOAL! Sweden take the lead and it's their talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic! Sterling loses the ball in the hosts' half, and they break. Olsson gallops forward and finds the striker inside the area. His first-time effort is blocked by Cahill's diving challenge, but he wastes no time in toe-punting the rebound into the roof of the net.
Tempo starting to increase here is Stockholm, and it's Sweden with the momentum.
Sweden with their first attempt on goal as Fulham star Kacaniklic (and my 'Player to Watch' for Sweden) finds space 25 yards from Hart's goal, but it scuttles past the post.
...the delivery is aimed for Cahill, but misses everyone. A waste.
England win a corner after Granqvist opts to head the ball away despite under little pressure. Gerrard is standing over it...
Half an opening for Young, and again it is Gerrard with the ball forward, but the Manchester United winger strays a yard offside as he enters the penalty area.
The playing surface is already noticeably affecting the bounce of the ball, as Young tries to collect a long pass down the left flank from Gerrard and fails.
Here is Tom McKeown again: "It's been a somewhat understated opening ten minutes in the Friends Arena, with neither side creating anything worthwhile. Debutant Leon Osman is the first to trouble the statisticians with a shot on target, albeit a tame one after some fine link-up play with Danny Welbeck."
First shot on target of the game and it is one of England's three debutants, Leon Osman. Johnson collects the ball out wide, but opts to cut inside and find the Everton man. A quick one-two with Welbeck later and Osman finds space on the edge of the area for an effort on goal, but it is weak and Isaksson gathers with ease.
A bit scrappy at the moment between the two sides as they both try to find their rhythm.
First half chance for England as Welbeck is released into the area via a deflection from Olsson, but the striker is penalised for hand ball. Unintentional, but still.
It's worth noting that the grass in the stadium was laid only five days ago, so the chances of it cutting up and bobbling is high. We watch with baited breath.
Sterling is down after a tussle with Granqvist, but the debutant is going to be OK.
A misunderstanding between Cahill and Hart before the 40-second mark as Elm's through-ball towards Ranegie is charged at by both the centre-back and goalkeeper, who clatter each other but clear the ball in the process.
And we are underway at Friends Arena!
Seconds away from kick-off... are you ready?
It's time for the national anthems, which means you've got enough time to read my preview for the game by clicking the 'Preview' tab above these words. Simple, huh? I've gone for a 2-1 win to Sweden. Tell me how wrong I am going to be via our Twitter page @GoalUK.
Remember kick-off is in a little over 10 minutes, folks. That's 19.30GMT if you have a 24-hour clock and live in the UK.
Here is expert Tom McKeown with his pre-match thoughts: "Roy Hodgson is no stranger to Swedish football. He earned himself a fine reputation managing club sides such as Halmstads and Malmo FF in the 1970s and 1980s, and more recently guided the Three Lions to victory against the Blagult in Euro 2012, courtesy of Danny Welbeck's cheeky late winner. Erik Hamren and his side, however, will be desperate to mark their first match in the brand new 50,000-seater Friends Arena in Stockholm with a victory, and will undoubtedly be buoyed by their magnificent comeback from 4-0 down in Germany last month. England have not won in Sweden since 1937 and Hodgson has his work cut out to get a positive result here tonight.
Tonight also marks the opening of Stockholm's new 50,000-seater Friends Arena. It's all shiny new and England will be hoping to spoil the party against Sweden's more experienced side.
So captain Steven Gerrard earns his 100th cap for England tonight, becoming the sixth 'Lion' to do so. His Liverpool team-mate Raheem Sterling, on the other hand, earns his debut along with Steven Caulker and Leon Osman. All sorts of landmarks then.
England starting XI: Hart; Johnson, Cahill, Caulker, Baines; Gerrard, Osman, Cleverley; Sterling, Welbeck, Young Subs: Forster, Ruddy, Jenkinson, Bertrand, Jagielka, Shawcross, Wilshere, Huddlestone, Zaha, Sturridge.
Sweden starting XI: Isaksson; Lustig, Granqvist, J Olsson, M Olsson; Elm, Kallstrom; Larsson, Ibrahimovic, Kacaniklic; Ranegie. Subs: Hansson, Svensson, Jansson, Sana, Wernbloom, Safari, Holmen, Berg, Hamad.
First things first, I need to fill you all in on those all-important line-ups. The home side up first...
Good evening one and all and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the international friendly between Sweden and England.
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