For years, the British public along with the mainstream British media doubted Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s abilities. He was indeed capable of scoring spectacular goals, but he never really became a sharp striker. Until 2012, his record against the English club was only three goals in 15 matches, all of them at Arsenal. Even with the national team, Ibra failed to score any goal against England.
However, everything changed on November 14, 2012. That day, Ibra showed a performance that no one would be able to repeat what he did on the field.
At that time, England’s coach, Roy Hodgson, intended to introduce several young players such as Steven Caulker and Wilfried Zaha. The match also marked the opening of the Friends Arena Stadium. For the Swedish public, this match was expected to start a new era of brighter Swedish football, especially after they finish the caretaker at Euro 2012.
It only took 19 minutes for Ibrahimovic to score the first goal to be found at Friends Arena. This goal seemed to be sent by Ibra to all the audience about what he would be presenting that night.
But before the first half was over, England immediately turned things around. Goals from Danny Welbeck and Caulker were able to make the host public anxious.
The second half-session turned out to be Ibrahimovic’s. He made the group of guest supporters silent, which from the beginning of the match continued to sing, “You’re as bad as Andy Carroll”.
Probably, the best part of the match was that Ibrahimovic was able to score a hat-trick in just 14 minutes, all of which were extremely remarkable. Starting at 74th minutes, when he controlled the bait prank with his chest, then did a superkick from inside the penalty box. In one move, he put the ball into his chest using a firing position, before firing and before the ball hit the ground. Joe Hart was deceived.
His third goal occurred just minutes later. From a distance of 30 yards, the execution of his free-kick was able to hit the bottom right corner of Hart’s net. Interestingly, it was not Ibra’s last offering that night. This magician still had one more show and that show changed the perception of the British public forever.
In a breakthrough feed situation, Ibra realized Hart’s keeper would not be able to throw the ball away using his head. He did not try to confront Hart but only waited for the ball to fall to maan. With his eyes constantly staring at the ball, he saw the ball pointing slightly behind his body. Ideally, he would kick a volley, but the ball was too high. So, he did an overhead kick in an absurd distance. Hart still hadn’t returned to the goal line and the ball slid swiftly without anyone chasing it away.
The audience at Friends Arena was shocked. Those who had doubted him now considered his skill as a miracle. That night Ibra proved that he was not only a qualified player but also a player who was ready to punish his doubters…