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Tottenham 2 Everton 2: Premier League match report

Tottenham 2 Everton 2: Sigurdsson rescues stuttering Spurs from disastrous defeat as top-four race hots up

PUBLISHED:

14:59 GMT, 7 April 2013

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UPDATED:

15:15 GMT, 7 April 2013

A late equaliser from Gylfi Sigurdsson rescued Tottenham from a crucial defeat but the pressure to reach the top four regardless continues to grow.

Emmanuel Adebayor had given the home side a first-minute lead from close range before through Phil Jagielka's equaliser and Kevin Mirallas' excellent finish rivals Everton had taken a second-half lead.

With the crowd getting anxious and time running out, Sigurdsson popped up with the all-important equaliser though Tottenham may still view it as two points dropped.

Early opener: Emmanuel Adebayor scored in the opening minute

Early opener: Emmanuel Adebayor scored in the opening minute

Match facts

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Caulker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Parker, Dembele (Huddlestone, 45), Sigurdsson, Holtby, Dempsey, Adebayor

Subs not used: Friedel, Naughton, Assou-Ekotto, Livermore, Ceballas, Carroll

Goals: Adebayor 1, Sigurdsson 87

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Mirallas, Osman, Gibson, Heitinga, Barkley (Jelavic, 52), Anichebe

Subs not used: Mucha, Stones, Duffy, Oviedo, Hitzlsperger, Naismith

Goals: Jagielka 15, Mirallas 53

Ref: Andre Marriner

Att: 36,192

Click for the latest Premier League table, results and fixtures

More to follow…

The equaliser: Phil Jagielka equalised for Everton in the 15th minute

The equaliser: Phil Jagielka equalised for Everton in the 15th minute

Three points: Thanks to Kevin Mirallas, Everton were only minutes from an important victory

Three points: Thanks to Kevin Mirallas, Everton were only minutes from an important victory

Battle: Spurs' Michael Dawson and Everton's Victor Anichebe were competing throughout

Battle: Spurs' Michael Dawson and Everton's Victor Anichebe were competing throughout

Famous guests: Paul Gascoigne and Gary Mabbutt were present at White Hart Lane

Famous guests: Paul Gascoigne and Gary Mabbutt were present at White Hart Lane

Classy: Moussa Dembele has been one of Tottenham's best players this season

Classy: Moussa Dembele has been one of Tottenham's best players this season

Pivotal: Sigurdsson's equaliser could yet be the difference in the Champions League race

Pivotal: Sigurdsson's equaliser could yet be the difference in the Champions League race

Remaining Premier League fixtures

TOTTENHAM

Apr 21 Man City (H), 1.30pm
Apr 27 Wigan (A), 3pm
May 4 Southampton (H), 3pm
May 12 Stoke (A), 3pm
May 19 Sunderland (H), 4pm
TBC Chelsea (A)

EVERTON

Apr 13 QPR (H), 3pm
Apr 16 Arsenal (A), 7.45pm
Apr 20 Sunderland (A), 3pm
Apr 27 Fulham (H), 3pm
May 4 Liverpool (A), 3pm
May 12 West Ham (H), 3pm
May 19 Chelsea (A), 4pm

Stephen Kelly signs for Reading

Ireland defender Kelly switches Fulham for Reading as Jol chases Huddlestone

By
Sam Cunningham

PUBLISHED:

17:01 GMT, 11 January 2013

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UPDATED:

19:35 GMT, 11 January 2013


On the move: Fulham defender Stephen Kelly

On the move: Fulham defender Stephen Kelly

Reading have completed the signing of right-back Stephen Kelly from Fulham – while Cottagers boss Martin Jol has admitted that he is interested in Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone.

Kelly was a main part of Jol's team last season but struggled for games this campaign. Fulham would not reveal how much the transfer fee for the Republic of Ireland international was.

The defender has become Reading's third signing in the January transfer window after the arrivals of Hope Akpan from Crawley and Daniel Carrico from Sporting Lisbon.

Jol said: 'We won't lose any other players. It's one single player who could go in this transfer window. Kelly is the only one.

'I thought it was good for him because he wanted to play. Last year he played all the games almost so I thought it was good for him to talk to Reading and they decided to take him and he decided to go there. I never say never but the players I want to keep here will be here after the 31st.'

Jol is still keen to strengthen his squad in the transfer window and clearly sees Fulham's midfield as an area he needs to improve.

On the radar: Martin Jol is still tracking Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone

On the radar: Martin Jol is still tracking Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone

He is still interested in defensive midfielder Derek Boateng, who is at Ukrainian club Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and also Tottenham's Huddlestone, whom he has monitored for years.

The 56-year-old added: 'Over the last six years I had an interest in Tom Huddlestone but he was injured and then went to Stoke. I think he failed a medical there but I am not sure, so he went back to Spurs.

'If Tom is fit, he is always in the back of my mind but as I told you before, I won't speculate on names. I can't say Tom is not on my list because I like him.'

Stephen Kelly set for Reading switch but Martin Jol insists Fulham will make no more January sales

Kelly set for Reading switch while Jol admits he is still chasing Huddlestone

By
Sam Cunningham

PUBLISHED:

17:01 GMT, 11 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:01 GMT, 11 January 2013


On the move: Fulham defender Stephen Kelly

On the move: Fulham defender Stephen Kelly

Martin Jol revealed defender Stephen Kelly is having a medical at Reading today – and that he is interested in Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone.

Kelly was a main part of Jol's team last season but has struggled for games this campaign. Fulham have received a fee for the transfer but the club would not reveal how much it was.

If the move goes through the defender will become Brian McDermott's third signing in the January transfer window. Last month he said he was targeting two or three players the club could afford that had Premier League experience and Kelly fits that mould.

Jol said: 'It's a permanent deal. We won't lose any other players. It's one single player who could go in this transfer window. Kelly is the only one.

'I thought it was good for him because he wanted to play. Last year he played all the games almost so I thought it was good for him to talk to Reading and they decided to take him and he decided to go there. I never say never but the players I want to keep here will be here after the 31st.'

Jol is still keen to strengthen his squad in the transfer window and clearly sees Fulham's midfield as an area he needs to improve.

On the radar: Martin Jol is still tracking Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone

On the radar: Martin Jol is still tracking Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone

He is still interested in defensive midfielder Derek Boateng who is at Ukrainian club Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and also Tottenham's Huddlestone, whom he has monitored for years.

The 56-year-old added: 'Over the last six years I had an interest in Tom Huddlestone, but he was injured and then went to Stoke. I think he failed a medical there but I am not sure, so he went back to Spurs.

'If Tom is fit, he is always in the back of my mind but as I told you before, I won't speculate on names. I can't say Tom is not on my list because I like him.'

Tottenham want to sign Leandro Damiao

Spurs bidding to finally clinch 15m Damiao signing as Adebayor considers Togo return

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

10:23 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:23 GMT, 6 January 2013

Tottenham are considering making a 15million offer for Brazil striker and long-term target Leandro Damiao.

The 23-year-old, who has 14 caps for his country, was on Spurs’ radar throughout Harry Redknapp’s reign and Andre Villas-Boas is also an admirer.

With Emmanuel Adebayor expected to perform a u-turn and head to the Africa Cup of Nations Spurs are ready to make a fresh bid for the Internacional man, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

You'll fit right in: Brazilian Leandro Damiao is a target for Tottenham

You'll fit right in: Brazilian Leandro Damiao is a target for Tottenham

If Adebayor does, as expected, play for Togo this month then that would leave Jermain Defoe as Villas-Boas’ only available striker.

Damiao finished as top scorer in last summer’s Olympics with six goals and Spurs are believed to have had offers rejected in the past.

The club have already tied up a pre-contract agreement with German international midfielder Lewis Holtby, who will officially join the club in the summer.

Plan: Emmanuel Adebayor (left) is considering a return to the Togo side

Plan: Emmanuel Adebayor (left) is considering a return to the Togo side

Midfielders Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore are both expected to leave White Hart Lane this month, with the former attracting interest from QPR and Fulham and the latter expected to join Redknapp’s Rs on loan to the end of the season.

Mousa Dembele doesn"t fear for his place when Scott Parker is fit again

Great Scot's return is super for Spurs! Dembele doesn't fear for his place when Parker is fit again

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UPDATED:

00:02 GMT, 18 December 2012

GREAT SCOTT! PARKER MAKES GOALSCORING RETURN

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STORY

Mousa Dembele does not feel threatened by Scott Parker's return from injury.

And the Tottenham midfielder believes tough competition for places in central midfield will benefit the team.

Parker came on in injury time against Swansea on Sunday, his first action since representing England against Italy at the Euros in June.

Dembele doesn't feel threatened by Parker's return from injury

Dembele doesn't feel threatened by Parker's return from injury

Following that match he had achilles surgery and was out for seven months.

Since then Andre Villas-Boas brought in Dembele who has struck up a partnership with Sandro in the middle.

And with the emergence of youngster Tom Carroll to the first team and Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore also available has meant competition is fierce.

But Dembele said: '(Parker's return is) very important. If you see him in training you can see he can be very important, he’s a very organised guy, very professional.

'He knows what he can do and I think he is an unbelievable player as well so it’s good for the team that there are a lot of rivals (in midfield) because it makes everybody sharp.

'I know if I play one bad game then Jake Livermore, Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone, Tom Carroll, there are a lot of good players who are behind me to come in and who can do well.

'So we have to keep playing and that keeps the level high in this team.'

Michael Dawson taunted at Tottenham training ground after FIFA 13 thrashing

VIDEO: L-plates for Dawson as Tottenham team-mates taunt defender at training ground

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UPDATED:

15:27 GMT, 4 December 2012

It's been a frustrating season for Michael Dawson so far. He has made only 11 appearances and limped off injured at the weekend with a hamstring problem during last weekend's 3-0 Barclays Premier League win at Fulham.

And to compound his misery, the England defender became the butt of all jokes at the Tottenham training ground after he suffered humiliation at the hands of his team-mates.

Game for a laugh: Michael Dawson loses 5-0 at FIFA 13 to team-mate Tom Huddlestone at Tottenham's training ground

Game for a laugh: Michael Dawson loses 5-0 at FIFA 13 to team-mate Tom Huddlestone at Tottenham's training ground

Dawson, 29, competed against midfielder Tom Huddlestone, full-back Kyle Naughton and youngster Thomas Carroll in a four-man FIFA 13 tournament.

But he was forced to endure the ignominy of being handed L-plates after he was thrashed 5-0 to eventual winner Huddlestone.

'I was horrendous,' said Dawson.

All smiles: Huddlestone revels in his success alongside Kyle Naughton (L), Dawson and Thomas Carroll (R)

All smiles: Huddlestone revels in his success alongside Kyle Naughton (L), Dawson and Thomas Carroll (R)

'Unfortunately I got beat 5-0. But I was rather happy keeping it down to five. Tom [Huddlestone] thought he was going to beat me by a lot more!

Huddlestone, who was crowned Tottenham's champion after beating Naughton in the final, added: 'I play it quite a bit at home with my friends to be fair, which probably helped me win.

A Premier League footballer spending his spare time playing video games. Who would have thought it…

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Liverpool striker Luis Suarez set to be face of American sportswear firm Warrior

EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool striker Suarez set to be face of sportswear firm Warrior

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UPDATED:

13:49 GMT, 4 December 2012

Luis Suarez is the man sportswear firm Warrior want to lead their attempts to break into the UK market.

Warrior made their first move into
football earlier this year, agreeing a staggering 300million deal with
Liverpool to supply their shirts and training gear.

Warrior are in talks with Luis Suarez

Talks: Warrior want tie-up with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez

And the US company have set their sights on striking a string of lucrative endorsement deals with the Premier League's biggest stars as they look to make the mark in this country.

In addition to Suarez, Sportsmail understands Warrior are targeting sponsorship contracts with Vincent Kompany, Micah Richards and Tom Huddlestone, while Craig Bellamy earlier this year became the firm's first football ambassador.

Target: Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany (right)

Target: Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany (right)

But it is the potential acquisition of Liverpool striker Suarez that the sportswear brand have made their top priority.

And the firm hope their already established links with the Anfield club will help their bid to land the Uruguay international.

Racist fans won"t get to Spurs – Andre Villas-Boas

Racist fans won't get to us, says AVB as Spurs brace for second clash with Lazio

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UPDATED:

00:01 GMT, 22 November 2012

Andre Villas-Boas has told his Tottenham players to let football's governing bodies lead the fight against racism in the stands.

Spurs are in Rome on Thursday night for the Europa League return against Lazio, who were fined 32,500 after fans aimed monkey noises at black players when the teams met at White Hart Lane in September.

Warming up: Tom Huddlestone (right) and team-mates in training at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday

Warming up: Tom Huddlestone (right) and team-mates in training at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday

Fancy that: Clint Dempsey (left) shows off his skills to Kyle Walker (second right)

Fancy that: Clint Dempsey (left) shows off his skills to Kyle Walker (second right)

Lazio v Spurs

'UEFA decided to punish Lazio and
rightly so,' said Villas-Boas. 'It doesn’t mean incidents won’t happen
again. We hope they won’t and the players will be in the right frame of
mind to let the governing bodies deal with those situations at the end
of the game if it does. It’s something that will hopefully not happen.'

Tottenham’s team will include Steven Caulker, charged by Serbian police after the England Under 21 team brawl which followed racist abuse by Serbian fans during a European Championships play-off in Krusevac last month.

'I’m not worried about the atmosphere,' said Caulker. 'Italy is a great footballing country and hopefully that will be the talking point.'

Paul Gascoigne’s appearance may soothe the mood inside the Stadio Olimpico with a crowd of around 30,000 expected. The former England star has been invited to Rome by Lazio as a guest of honour, 20 years after he joined them from Spurs.

'It is a big thing for both clubs,' said Villas-Boas. 'He was admired by a generation of football people around the world. He had tremendous class and quality and it is important he will be here.'

A win for Tottenham will put them through to the Europa League’s last 32 with a game to spare.

So close: Spurs can get through to the Europa League knockout stages with a win in Rome

So close: Spurs can get through to the Europa League knockout stages with a win in Rome

Focused: Tottenham manager Andre Villas Boas speaks at his press conference on Wendesay

Focused: Tottenham manager Andre Villas Boas speaks at his press conference on Wendesay

Arsenal 5 Tottenham 2 match report: Emmanuel Adebayor sent off as Gunners win derby

Arsenal 5 Tottenham 2: Adebayor opens scoring before seeing red for desperate lunge as Gunners seal derby delight

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UPDATED:

15:29 GMT, 17 November 2012

A moment of madness from Emmanuel Adebayor sparked a spectacular Tottenham collapse as Arsenal romped to victory in today's entertaining north London derby at the Emirates Stadium.

Adebayor scored against his former employers to give Tottenham a 10th-minute lead, but he pressed the self-destruct button seven minutes later when he was given a straight red for a horrific sliding tackle on the excellent Santi Cazorla.

Tottenham struggled to cope with the numerical disadvantage thereafter and it only took a few minutes for Per Mertesacker to equalise.

Lunge: Adebayor was shown a straight red card for a wild tackle on Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla

Lunge: Adebayor was shown a straight red card for a wild tackle on Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla

Red hot: Theo Walcott scored the final goal as Hugo Lloris shipped five

Red hot: Theo Walcott scored the final goal as Hugo Lloris shipped five

Match facts

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Arteta, Wilshere (Ramsey 72), Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski (Santos 80), Giroud (Oxlade-Chamberlain 86).

Subs: Mannone, Jenkinson, Coquelin, Arshavin.

Booked: Podolski

Goals: Mertesacker 24, Podolski 42, Giroud 45+1, Cazorla 60, Walcott 90+1.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker (Dawson 46), Gallas, Vertonghen, Naughton (Dempsey 46), Lennon, Sandro, Huddlestone (Carroll 72), Bale, Adebayor, Defoe.

Subs: Friedel, Livermore, Townsend, Sigurdsson.

Booked: Lennon, Sandro

Sent off: Adebayor

Goals: Adebayor 10, Bale 71.

Att: 60,111

Ref: Howard Webb.

The latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

Lukas Podolski's strike, and Olivier
Giroud's fifth goal in his last five games gave Arsenal a comfortable
two-goal cushion by half-time.

Tottenham fared slightly better in the
second half, but their only reward came through a Gareth Bale
consolation after Cazorla killed the contest.

To add insult to injury Theo Walcott
grabbed a deserved goal in injury time to make the score the same as the
5-2 win that Arsenal used as a springboard for their Champions League
assault last season.

Arsenal's victory means they jump
above Tottenham in the table, while Spurs have now suffered four
successive defeats under Andre Villas-Boas, who will have questions to
answer about why he decided to play Adebayor if there were doubts about
whether the striker could keep a lid on his emotions.

It was clear from the off that
Adebayor was pumped up for the clash. After being snubbed by his former
team-mates in the tunnel, he tussled aggressively with Jack Wilshere for
the ball inside the first minute.

The Togolese's every touch was booed
during an opening five minutes which was bereft of goal-mouth action,
but packed with passion thanks to the white-hot atmosphere inside the
Emirates Stadium.

Protest: The Togo international was given his marching orders by referee Howard Webb

Protest: The Togo international was given his marching orders by referee Howard Webb

Protest: The Togo international was given his marching orders by referee Howard Webb

William Gallas, whose status as a
former Gunner also meant he was jeered constantly, thought he had given
Spurs an early lead when he intercepted Tom Huddlestone's shot and
curled a shot past Wojciech Szczesny, but the Frenchman was correctly
given offside.

One minute later Spurs did have the
lead, however, through their controversial number 10. Szczesny palmed
Jermain Defoe's shot in to Adebayor's path and he twisted his body to
tap in to an empty net.

Net gains: Adebayor had given the away side a deserved lead after tapping home with 10 minutes gone at the Emirates

Net gains: Adebayor had given the away side a deserved lead after tapping home with 10 minutes gone at the Emirates

Net gains: Adebayor had given the away side a deserved lead after tapping home with 10 minutes gone at the Emirates

Net gains: Adebayor had given the away side a deserved lead after tapping home with 10 minutes gone at the Emirates

The striker, famed for running the
whole length of the pitch to celebrate in front of Arsenal's fans three
years ago, hurdled the advertising boards and goaded the irate home
support.

Such was the vitriol against Adebayor that some of the home fans were ejected for hurling abuse at the 28-year-old.

Seven minutes later the home fans were jeering Adebayor off after his awful foul on Cazorla.

Studs showing, the Spurs striker
propelled himself in to a high tackle on the Spaniard, who was in
mid-air and Howard Webb had no option but to send the player off.

Head boy: Mertesacker scored his first goal for the club with a well-executed header

Head boy: Mertesacker scored his first goal for the club with a well-executed header

Head boy: Mertesacker scored his first goal for the club with a well-executed header

Head boy: Mertesacker scored his first goal for the club with a well-executed header

Arsenal peppered the Tottenham box as the visitors struggled to cope with the one-man deficit.

The inevitable equaliser came after 23
minutes. Walcott latched on to Wilshere's ball and crossed for
Mertesacker, who headed past Hugo Lloris after Huddlestone went missing
in the box.

Villas-Boas checked his notepad for
inspiration, but he must have known there was little he could do to stop
Arsenal from taking the lead.

Lloris, making just his second league start, did his best to keep the Gunners out, saving twice in succession from Giroud.

On target: Podolski celebrates after giving Arsenal the lead shortly before the interval

On target: Podolski celebrates after giving Arsenal the lead shortly before the interval

Cazorla bent a swirling drive just
over Lloris' bar as Tottenham tried to hold on until the break, but
Huddlestone then gifted the Gunners the lead.

The midfielder, recalled to the
England squad this week, poked Mikel Arteta's pass unwittingly in to the
path of Podolski and his shot deflected off Gallas past Lloris.

Arsenal bagged their third in
first-half injury time. Kyle Naughton knocked Cazorla down but he picked
himself up and squared to Giroud, who beat Gallas to the ball and
dispatched a close-range finish.

French fancy: Giroud celebrates with Walcott after scoring a third for the hosts in first-half stoppage time

French fancy: Giroud celebrates with Walcott after scoring a third for the hosts in first-half stoppage time

Kyle Walker and Bale remonstrated with
Webb as they left the field at half-time, but in reality there was
little they could complain about.

Villas-Boas brought on Michael Dawson
and Clint Dempsey and moved to 3-5-1, but the move made little impact as
Arsenal remained in control.

Lloris managed to keep the hosts out
for 14 minutes before Arsenal hit on the break through Walcott and
Podolski, who found Cazorla at the back post and he made no mistake from
five yards.

Santi Cazorla

Reign in Spain: Cazorla scored the home side's fourth goal after the interval at the Emirates

Santi Cazorla

Only a crucial block by Gallas stopped
Arsenal from scoring their fifth as the hosts threatened a
record-breaking victory margin.

Bale then restored a bit of pride for
the away side with 20 minutes to go when he outpaced Mertesacker and
drove past Szczesny through Laurent Koscielny's legs.

Flashes of Spurs' Bale-inspired near
comeback against Inter Milan flashed in to the minds of the away support
as the winger again went charging down the left and cut in to the box
but this time the his shot flew wide.

Hope: Bale scored with a right-footed effort after 71 minutes

Hope: Bale scored with a right-footed effort after 71 minutes

As the clock ticked towards 90 minutes Tottenham started to throw more bodies forward, but they were left exposed at the back.

Defoe attempted a 10-yard volley while
unmarked at the back post but he missed the ball Thomas Vermaelen shot
just wide and Arsenal finished off the rout in injury time when Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain took advantage of a Jan Vertonghen mistake to play in
Walcott.

Job done: Walcott completes the rout in stoppage time

Job done: Walcott completes the rout in stoppage time

Sweden 4 England 2: match report

Sweden 4 England 2: Take Zlat! Ibrahimovic hits four to ruin Gerrard's big night

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UPDATED:

02:01 GMT, 15 November 2012

Something really annoyed Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It may have been the unkind comparison to Andy Carroll made by England fans or he may have been offended by the sudden rush of so many unfamiliar substitutes.

Whatever it was, he responded by completing his hat-trick and then scored a fourth – quite possibly one of the greatest goals scored by anyone, anywhere in the world.

Joe Hart headed a clearance up rather than away and Ibrahimovic followed it through the air before springing to apply an overhead kick from 30 yards out, wide on the right, which arched over the stranded goalkeeper and into the open goal.

VIDEO: Watch Zlatan Ibrahimovic's wonderful fourth goal

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Wonder strike: Ibrahimovic scored a stunning fourth goal to complete Sweden's win

Wonder strike: Ibrahimovic scored a stunning fourth goal to complete Sweden's win

Wonder strike: Ibrahimovic scored a stunning fourth goal to complete Sweden's win

Pure delight: Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his outrageous fourth goal as Sweden beat England

Pure delight: Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his outrageous fourth goal as Sweden beat England

Match facts

Sweden: Isaksson, Lustig (Sana 73), Granqvist (Antonsson 73), Jonas Olsson, Martin Olsson (Safari 46), Larsson (Jansson 85), Elm, Kallstrom (Svensson 61), Kacaniklic, Ibrahimovic, Ranegie (Wernbloom 89).

Subs Not Used: Hansson, Holmen, Berg, Hamad.

Booked: Granqvist, Ibrahimovic.

Goals: Ibrahimovic 20, 77, 84, 90.

England: Hart, Johnson (Jenkinson 74), Caulker (Shawcross 74), Cahill, Baines, Cleverley (Wilshere 61), Gerrard (Huddlestone 74), Osman, Young (Sturridge 61), Sterling (Zaha 85), Welbeck.

Subs Not Used: Ruddy, Bertrand, Jagielka, Forster.

Booked: Wilshere.

Goals: Welbeck 35, Caulker 38.

Att: 49,967

Ref: Svein Oddvar Moen (Norway).

If you are looking for the best way
to mark the opening of a national stadium and overshadow Steven
Gerrard's 100th cap and six England debutants, that's not a bad way to
do it.

Silence fell as those inside the
Friends Arena held their breath. and watched the flight of the ball.
Then the noise exploded as it landed in the net.

England supporters stood to applaud
the audacity of Sweden's captain. Sometimes it is simply a thrill to
witness such flashes of sporting beauty.

Let us bury forever the notion that
he does not produce against English teams or vanishes on the big
occasion. Ibrahimovic ripped off his shirt, tossed it towards the crowd
and shrugged as he was shown a yellow card.

If the race is on to be known as the
world's third-best player, here was his candidacy. No-one in a white
shirt could match his strength of personality or quality.

No-one had scored a hat-trick against England since Marco van Basten in 1988.

Nobody had ever scored four.
Ibrahimovic opened the scoring in the 20th minute but Roy Hodgson's team
responded well with goals from Danny Welbeck and Steven Caulker to take
a half-time lead.

Captain fantastic: Steven Gerrard led England out on his 100th cap

Captain fantastic: Steven Gerrard led England out on his 100th cap

Opener: Zlatan Ibrahmovic fires Sweden into the lead against England before celebrating (below)

Opener: Zlatan Ibrahmovic fires Sweden into the lead against England before celebrating (below)

Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts after scoring the opening goal

England were still leading 14
minutes from time, when Hodgson handed substitutes Ryan Shawcross, Carl
Jenkinson and Tom Huddlestone front-row tickets for the Ibra Show.

Within seconds, Ibrahimovic escaped Shawcross without trying too hard and slammed an equaliser past Hart.

It was a harsh baptism for the Stoke
defender. Seven minutes later he fired Sweden in front, lashing a
free-kick low into a corner from 35 yards.

Finally, 47 seconds into added time,
his masterpiece. Hart will feel he ought to have done better with the
third, perhaps with the fourth, too, but England, vulnerable at the back
throughout, had gone to pieces.

If, as Hodgson suggested, the game
is assessed in two portions, then the last 15 minutes were a total
disaster and the first 75 offered mild encouragement, an improvement on
last month's performance in Poland.

There was a zip and more threat in
attack but the feeling remained that England were loose, easily
stretched and an accident waiting to happen in defence – even before the
late shambles.

Hodgson handed debuts to six players,
including Wilfried Zaha , Raheem St erling, Jenkinson and Shawcross,
four players with dual nationality.

This non-competitive friendly does not tie them to England but it proves willingness on both sides.

Level pegging: Daniel Welbeck is on hand to tap home England's equaliser

Level pegging: Daniel Welbeck is on hand to tap home England's equaliser

England's Danny Welbeck celebrates after scoring

Sterling enjoyed a purple patch
either side of half-time, with flashes of pace and quick feet, but his
naivety was in evidence, too.

Ibrahimovic's first goal in the 20th
minute was launched after Martin Olsson had muscled Sterling off the
ball as he collected a pass from Gerrard.

Olsson charged on down the line, took
a return from Mathias Ranegie and whipped in a low cross. Caulker
managed to smother Ibrahimovic's first effort but the ball spilled
kindly for him to stab a shot past Hart.

This was a taste for the Spurs defender of how the cookie crumbles against the best strikers.

Until that point, Caulker had looked
assured alongside Gary Cahill, a pairing which will have been one of the
key areas of interest for Hodgson as he considers his central defensive
options after John Terry's retirement. But there were alarming examples
of disorganisation.

The game was only 30 seconds old when Cahill and Hart collided as they raced to mop up a pass aimed towards Mathias Ranegie.

It triggered memories of the game
against Belgium when Cahill broke his jaw in a freak clash with the
England keeper in a friendly in the summer.

The pair got in a tangle again when
Hart ventured from his goal-line, failed to collect and Ranegie wasted
the chance, firing over an empty net.

It was an escape and England stirred,
levelling when Ashley Young supplied an exquisite cross for Welbeck,
who found space between Jonas and Martin Olsson to convert.

Debut strike: Steven Caulker puts England in front in Sweden before he is mobbed by team-mates (below)

Debut strike: Steven Caulker puts England in front in Sweden before he is mobbed by team-mates (below)

England's players cheer after Steven Caulker's goal

Three minutes later and Caulker
bundled in the second at the back post from Gerrard's swerving
free-kick, which was missed by Andreas Granqvist.

Sterling had played an important role
in both goals. He fed the ball to Young on the first and won the
free-kick for the second with an electric dribble.

For all the mobility of Leon Osman,
who performed ably on debut, and Cleverley, England lacked physical
presence in midfield and Ibrahimovic continued to trouble the central
defenders.

He drifted away from Cahill late in
the first half and would have equalised were it not for a last-ditch
slide by Caulker which deflected his shot over the bar.

Hat-trick hero: Zlatan Ibrahimovic curls home a free kick to put Sweden in front against England

Hat-trick hero: Zlatan Ibrahimovic curls home a free kick to put Sweden in front against England

Jonas Olsson blocked from Gerrard and Andreas Isaksson saved from Osman on the turn.

When Ibrahimovic volleyed wide with
his team trailing 2-1, the England fans serenaded him with a chorus of
'You're just a s*** Andy Carroll'.

Jack Wilshere returned after a long
absence from the England team amid a flurry of second-half
substitutions, as did Huddlestone, who replaced Gerrard 16 minutes from
time.

The captain took his place on the bench as a very young team tried to hold out.

Welbeck, with 14 caps, was the most
experienced outfield player. Gerrard had spoken on the eve of the game
about the weight of the England shirt and how he hoped the next
generation might not be saddled with the same thing.

But as he watched them fail their
first test he must have wondered and he must have prayed, along with all
fans, that one of them is able to develop into a talisman like
Ibrahimovic. Either one of them or Andy Carroll.

Bright spark: Raheem Sterling (above) impressed on his debut but Wilfried Zaha was given little time (below)

Bright spark: Raheem Sterling (above) impressed on his debut but Wilfried Zaha was given little time (below)

England Wilfried Zaha (L) is challenged by Sweden's Behrang Safari