Anatomy of a goal: Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s ridiculous overhead kick against England in 2012

In 2012, football changed forever. The world stopped and stared, jaws on the floor and eyes bulging from their sockets in shock, trying to comprehend the madness they had just witnessed.

The date was November 14, 2012. Tom Cleverley, Carl Jenkinson, Stuart Downing, Steven Kolkar, Leon Usman and Phil Jagielka were current England internationals, while Yolo The hip teenagers still had something to say. These were very, very different times.

One fact that has remained true in the years since, is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic was – and is – at the pinnacle of European football.

A rare sight in football / Michael Regan / Getty Images

The Swedish striker had just finished an impressive spell at Milan, and was now embarking on a new adventure at French giants Paris Saint-Germain. You won’t be surprised to find out, it worked out great for him too.

However, it was in an international friendly against England that Ibrahimovic – already with a hat-trick to his name – scored one of the greatest goals of his long, long, long career – a strike that It will be gone forever. Down in football folklore.

“What was this mystical purpose you speak of?” I hear you ask. Don’t worry, 90 Minutes is about to finish it off for you, Zlatan style.

She’s a Beauty / Michael Regan / Getty Images

We’re teleporting back to 2012, and specifically, to the National Arena in Sweden. It was the opening of the new stadium in Stockholm, and a carnival atmosphere surrounded the grounds. All that was missing was 90 minutes of football to cap off an amazing evening.

And as far as matches go, it already lived up to its billing in blessing a new footballing church. Kolkar opened his international career with a goal, giving England a 2-1 lead in the first half. For a long time, it appeared that the three lions were to rain on Sweden’s parade. That is, until Zlatan died.

The talismanic striker had already broken the deadlock, but seeing his good work destroyed, he set out to exact his revenge. Two goals in seven second-half minutes from Ibra put the hosts back in the lead and gave him a hat-trick, and with just a few minutes left in the game, you’d think they were settling for a narrow win. shall be.

The hat-trick hero had other ideas.

Hart was powerless to stop this moment in history/Michael Regan/Getty Images

This is the 91st minute. England push for an equaliser, when a long punt downfield relieves some of the pressure on the Swedish backline. (Then) the reliable Joe Hart saw an opportunity to get the Three Lions back on the pitch, and raced out of his penalty area to meet the bouncing ball. He doesn’t quite get his angles right though.

The blocker halted his charge, realizing he had misjudged his attack. Hart tries to get some distance on his header, but 30 yards from his net, he can only send the ball vertically into space.

Feeling a bit threatened, he turns and starts walking back to the trap. But the damage was already done.

That look when you’re about to unleash a crazy overhead kick / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/Getty Images

With the ball pushed toward the ground, a man stands below its flight path. That’s right folks, it was Abra. But what should he do? Bring the ball down and head for the corner flag? Knock it into the path of a teammate and try to catch England cold?

No forward pretends to consider all his options for a split second, and then decides, ‘F**k it, I’m just going to hit it and see what happens’. Well, maybe there was a little more thought in his selection, but so much of the beauty of this goal stems from the bravery and balls to imagine such an effort – let it go.

A famous photo / Jonathan Neckstrand / Getty Images

The big Swede backs away to align himself with Hart’s poor header, and with his back to goal 30 yards from the net, he throws his body into the air, his legs over his head. Swings up. An overhead kick.

There was silence around the stadium. A simultaneous gasp echoes. The sound of the stadium’s new seats slapping the backboards echoes around, as supporters stomp to their feet in disbelief. Then a scream is heard. “ZLATAAAAAAN!” the big man calls out. Of course he calls out his name.

We’d like to think so, anyway.

What actually happens, is just as remarkable. Ibrahimovic connects with the ball so sweetly, his legs spin in an acrobatic frenzy, and with that, his shot begins to pick up speed as it falls towards the goalmouth.

It is the eighth anniversary of this despicable act by Zlatan.

25-yard scissorbastard. From this angle. Rotten

— It’s a funny old game (@sid_lambert) November 14, 2020

Hart was stunned. He can only see. And he probably had the best seat in the house. Strike flies, arcs, loops and arrows together, heading for the near post. A frustrated Ryan Shawcross (yes, that Ryan Shawcross) throws himself into the pace of the ball, but he’s a part too late. He was far from being the enemy of football to stop this amazing goal, but instead just manages to make it look more impressive by crashing into the woodwork.

And it was over in a second. The ball hits the net. Sweden had won the game, and in the most spectacular circumstances. His new stadium was named after his dad, and there was nothing left but to throw his hands in the air and admit, you can’t deny that kind of talent.

A goal for the ages, made by the most immortal man.

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