ONE centurion, six debutants and England’s fifth-youngest player of all time – but it was Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who scored four to wreck Roy Hodgson’s unbeaten start as manager.
When skipper Steven Gerrard exited the Friends Arena 17 minutes from the end of this Stockholm friendly, the visitors were feeling rather pleased with themselves.
Goals from Danny Welbeck and Steven Caulker had overturned an early deficit, Raheem Sterling for one had impressed and others were preparing for the start of their international careers.
But Ibrahimovic had a nasty surprise in store.
Capitalising on Ryan Shawcross switching off, Ibrahimovic rammed home a leveller, before finding the bottom corner with a precise free-kick six minutes from time.
And the coup-de-grace came in stoppage time when, he moved onto a wayward clearing header from Joe Hart, he sent an overhead kick sailing into an empty net from fully 25 yards.
Never again will he hear the phrase ’never does it against English teams’.
It deflated a growing air of optimism around the England camp, and ensured Gerrard’s landmark night, and all those debuts, including one from Wilfried Zaha, will not be remembered with any real fondness.
Sweden’s new national stadium may look magnificent from the outside, or at least it will when it is actually completed, inside though, there was a major problem.
Laid two days ago under a sliding roof that, unlike in Poland last month, was actually closed, the playing surface was simply not up to the job.
Massive divots came up at regular intervals and if they were at home, concerned Premier League bosses must have felt like watching through splayed fingers.
With the home supporters watching in respectful silence compared to the din they made in Kiev when the teams met at Euro 2012, it made for a surreal occasion, which only came to life when Ibrahimovic broke the deadlock.
Sweden’s talisman had settled a few scores earlier this year, when he belted home a hat-trick that helped turf Arsenal out of the Champions League.
Even after his opener, no-one could have guessed he was about to eclipse it.