Today marks the fifth anniversary of the fateful night that Zlatan Ibrahimovic trampled roughshod over England, scoring all four goals in a mountainous performance at the epicentre of Sweden’s 4-2 friendly victory in Stockholm.
England’s wafer-thin side contained such luminaries as Steven Caulker, Tom Cleverly, Leon Osman, Tom Huddlestone and poor old Ryan Shawcross who, making his international debut as a late substitute, suffered miserably at the hands of a soaring Zlatan and was never called up again thereafter.
The visitors were actually 2-1 up when Roy Hodgson sent Shawcross on in the 75th minute. Ibrahimovic then rampaged his way to three more goals in the space of the final 13 minutes – the last of which being his iconic, booming overhead kick from 30 yards out…
And on the very night Steven Gerrard celebrated winning his 100th England cap too. What fond memories he must have.
The embarrassing result also marked the beginning of the slow, gradual deflation of Joe Hart, who finally transitioned from ‘infallible custodian’ to ‘constant, clag-brained liability’ in the public consciousness.
This is how Pies addressed Hart’s dreadful performance at the time:
Too often is he allowed to escape without criticism, but last night Joe Hart was terrible. He’s worryingly shonky when not faced with direct shots at the best of times (i.e, coming to claim corners, crosses, high balls, etc), but last night’s performance against Sweden was the worst we’ve seen him play in a long, long while.
It’s not really got any better since, now has it?