PARIS - Zlatan Ibrahimovic lit up a night of friendlies most club coaches had castigated as an unnecessary intrusion into their domestic campaigns as the Swedish star scored four times to give his side a 4-2 win over England on Wednesday.
Ibrahimovic at his very best is unstoppable and he decided that the inauguration of the new national stadium, the Friends Arena, was a suitably grand occasion for him to produce a masterclass to inflict England manager Roy Hodgson's first defeat over 90 minutes in 12 games.
The giant striker, who rose to fourth in the all-time Swedish scoring list, saved his most spectacular goal for last, an outrageous long-range bicycle kick in injury time that drew a standing ovation from the Sweden dug-out.
"Sometimes, when he's doing these things, in training or in matches, you don't think it's possible," said Sweden coach Erik Hamren. "Sometimes, you think you're watching a video game. Because it's not possible to do that — the fourth goal, for example."
The 31-year-old said it wasn't his finest match for his country as he said he had played many great games for them, but when asked how he would mark his international career out of 10 he had no hesitation.
"10," he replied.
France's 1998 World Cup winning captain Didier Deschamps was having a dynamic effect on the present French team as they followed up their impressive 1-1 draw against world and European champions Spain in a World Cup qualifier last month with a 2-1 win over Italy in Parma.
Elsewhere, two Euro 2012 semi-finalists Germany and Portugal had to settle for draws — the Germans held 0-0 by the Netherlands and the Portuguese held 2-2 by Gabon.