Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Ridiculous Overhead Kick vs England in 2012
Again in 2012, soccer modified perpetually. The world stopped and stared, jaws on the ground and eyes bursting from their sockets in bewilderment, attempting to understand the lunacy that they’d simply witnessed.
The date was 14 November 2012. Tom Cleverley, Carl Jenkinson, Stewart Downing, Steven Caulker, Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka had been precise England internationals, whereas YOLO was nonetheless one thing the hip teenagers mentioned. These had been very, very totally different occasions.
One undeniable fact that has remained true within the years since nonetheless, is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic was – and is – on the peak of European soccer.
The Swedish striker had simply introduced a prolific spell at Milan to an finish, and was now embarking on a brand new journey at French giants Paris Saint-Germain. You will not be shocked to find, that went fairly effectively for him, too.
Nevertheless, it was in a global pleasant match towards the plucky English that Ibrahimovic – already with a hat-trick to his title – delivered one of many best objectives in his lengthy, lengthy, lengthy profession – a strike so bonkers that it’s going to perpetually go down in soccer folklore.
“What was this mystical objective that you just converse of?” I hear you ask. Don’t be concerned, 90min is about to interrupt it down for you, Zlatan type.
We’re teleporting again to 2012, and extra particularly, to the Nationalarenan in Sweden. It was the inauguration of the brand new stadium in Stockholm, and there was a carnival environment swirling across the floor. All that was lacking was an entertaining 90 minutes of soccer to cap off an exquisite night.
And so far as matches go, this was already dwelling as much as its billing as worthy of blessing a brand new footballing church. Caulker had marked his worldwide debut with a objective, handing party-poopers England a 2-1 lead within the first half. For a very long time, it appeared that the Three Lions had been destined to rain on the Swede’s parade. That’s, till Zlatan got here to life.
The talismanic striker had already damaged the impasse, however having seen his good work destroyed, he set about getting his revenge. Two objectives in seven second-half minutes from Ibra put the hosts again within the lead and gave him his hat-trick, and with mere minutes left to play, you’d suppose they’d be settling for the slim win.
The hat-trick hero had different concepts.
It is the 91st minute. England are pushing for an equaliser, when a protracted punt downfield relieves some stress on the Swedish again line. The (then) dependable Joe Hart spots a chance to get the Three Lions again up the pitch, and rushes out of his penalty space to fulfill the bouncing ball. He does not fairly get his angles proper, although.
The stopper halts his cost, realising he is badly mistimed his assault. Hart tries to get a long way on his header, however all of 30 yards from his internet, he can solely ship the ball vertically into house.
Sensing little hazard, he turns and begins a jog again in direction of the web. However the injury was already executed.
With the ball hurtling in direction of earth, there may be one man standing beneath its flight path. That is proper of us, it was Ibra. However what ought to he do? Carry the ball down and head for the nook flag? Knock it into the trail of a teammate and attempt to catch England chilly?
Nah. The ahead pretends to think about all his choices for a cut up second, after which decides, ‘F**ok it, I am simply gonna hit it and see what occurs’. Okay, there was most likely a bit extra thought put into his alternative, however a lot of the great thing about this objective stems from the bravery and balls to even think about an effort to this diploma – not to mention pull it off.
The massive Swede backtracks to align himself with Hart’s poor header, and together with his again to objective, 30 yards from the web, he throws his physique into the air, and swings his legs above his head. An overhead kick.
A silence spreads across the stadium. A simultaneous gasp echoes. The sound of the brand new stadium seats slapping the backboard rings round, as supporters bounce to their ft in disbelief. Then, a scream is heard. “ZLATAAAAAAN!” The massive man calls out. In fact he calls out his personal title.
We might prefer to suppose so, anyway.
What actually occurs, is equally as exceptional. Ibrahimovic connects with the ball so, so sweetly, his legs twirling in an acrobatic frenzy, and with that, his shot begins to assemble momentum because it crashes in direction of the goalmouth.
Hart is shocked. He can solely watch. And he most likely had the most effective seat in the home. The strike flies, arcs, loops and arrows concurrently, careering in direction of the close to publish. A determined Ryan Shawcross (sure, that Ryan Shawcross) throws himself into the ball’s trajectory, however he is a fraction too late. He was a cut up second from turning into an enemy of soccer for stopping this surprise objective, however as an alternative solely manages to make it look extra spectacular as he crashes into the woodwork.
And in a second, it was over. The ball hits the web. Sweden had received the sport, and in essentially the most majestic of circumstances. Their new stadium had been christened by their daddy, and there was nothing left to do however throw your arms within the air and admit, you can’t deny expertise like that.
A objective for the ages, scored by essentially the most timeless man of all.
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