Last night I had the great pleasure of covering the first ever football match at the newly constructed Friends Arena here in Stockholm. Sweden meet England and after 90 minutes only Ibra remained.
The arena is pretty spectacular. I didn’t have an opportunity to see the public side of it, but the inner workings where us press members get to hang out are really nice. Multiple press room, internet access, well connected, and easy to get around.
The opening ceremony was either pretty sloppy or spoiled by the English national team. The pitch was filled with flag bearers and a speaker was talking about the area, during this period the English goal keeper Joe Hart and and the two reserve keepers decided to do their warming up. For 15 to 20 minutes there was this awkward scenario of 3 English players practicing in the middle of a ceremony. At one point Joe Hart was lobbing balls to the reserve keepers who were in the middle of the pitch. This with what must have been 150 to 200 flag bearers on the pitch. Why did no one stop this? I don’t know. I kept waiting for him to hit someone with a ball, but his throwing last night was better than his goal keeping.
Before the game started I was talking with another photographer and I asked him who he thought would score the first goal. He didn’t want to make any predictions and asked me what I thought to which I replied that I had a feeling Zlatan Ibrahimović was probably quite hungry for it. Little did I know how hungry he was. He want on to not only to claim the title of scoring the first goal at Friends Arena but also carry his entire team on his back and single handily defeat England.
Bellow you can see him scoring his first goal of the evening and the subsequent celebration. Unfortunately I didn’t do so well on any of his 4 goals. I had better luck with England as you can see farther down.
Had England gone on to win the game I probably would have had some of the best shots of the night. I had loaned a camera from a colleague and placed it behind the goal with a remote which I was able to control with a foot pedal. When Danny Welbeck equalised in the first period I got him putting the ball in the net with my goal camera.
Then later in the half when Steven Caulker scored and brought England into the lead I caught the goal with both my remote camera and the camera in my hand. Unfortunately that’s how thing go when you are shooting sports sometimes you get great shots that become completely irrelevant as the evening goes on.
And in case you are wondering by the time Ibra went on his goal scoring spree in the 2nd half the memory card on my remote camera was completely full.