Fifa won't add Zlatan as goal award nominee

Sweden's team captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring his third goal during Sweden's 4-0 win over England in a friendly match. (AFP)

Sweden's team captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring his third goal during Sweden's 4-0 win over England in a friendly match. (AFP)

Fifa said on Thursday that Ibrahimovic's fourth goal in Sweden's 4-2 victory came after voting opened at 2pm GMT on Wednesday for its 10 approved candidates for the Puskas Award.

"Given that a number of votes have already been cast for this year's award, the select committee for the Puskas Award may not, at this stage, include an additional nominee," Fifa said in a statement.

Fifa said the goal can be considered by its selection panel of experts as a candidate for the 2013 Puskas Award.

The 2012 award, named after Hungarian great Ferenc Puskas, will be announced on January 7 at the Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich.

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Rademal Falcao are among the contenders being voted for by visitors to fifa.com.

Lavish praise
Ibrahimovic's instinctive 27-meter strike was lavished with praise by Swedish and English media.

He reacted after England goalkeeper Joe Hart weakly headed the ball clear outside the penalty area. Facing away from the goal, Ibrahimovic leaped high and twisted to launch a looping shot which bounced into the unguarded net.

Ibrahimovic ripped off his shirt in celebration and ran to the halfway line to be greeted by teammates mostly laughing with surprise at what they witnessed.

The stoppage-time spectacle was a fitting end to the first international match at the new Friends Arena in Stockhom.

"From now it's called Zlatan Arena," wrote sports columnist Mats Olsson in the Swedish daily Expressen.

Ibrahimovic said it was "probably the goal I enjoyed the most" of those he scored for the national team.

"I've played a lot of good games. I've scored many nice goals," he said. "But the important thing was to win in the new arena, which I've said earlier, it feels like a Coloseum." – Sapa-AP

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