Ibrahimovic treble in Sweden rout
Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his return to the Sweden team in style as his hat-trick inspired a 5-0 drubbing of Nordic rivals Finland in a Euro 2012 qualifier.
Ibrahimovic, who had not played for the Swedish team since 2010 and missed the group E win at Moldova at the weekend through injury, came off the bench for the injured Ola Toivonen and scored two low finishes and a header as side made light work of a poor Finland.
Kim Kallstrom and Emir Najrami - his first international goal - were also on target at the Rasunda stadium in Solna, near Stockholm.
Sweden now lie three points behind runaway group leaders Netherlands, who have a 100 per cent record with six wins in six.
Ibrahimovic missed the 4-1 victory in Moldova on Friday to rest an ankle injury sustained playing for his club Milan, but produced a finishing masterclass after joining the fray in the 25th minute.
He netted his first six minutes after coming on, swivelling to fire home from close range to make it 2-0 after Kallstrom had fired Sweden ahead with a free-kick that eluded Finland keeper Anssi Jaakkola at his far post.
Ibrahimovic's second came four minutes after his first, Sebastian Larsson squaring him the ball for the simplest of finishes, and he could have had a hat-trick by half-time had he not fired a free-kick a fraction over in the 41st minute.
His third goal came early in the second half as he rose to nod home a free kick from deep on the right touchline.
Sweden took their foot of the gas a little in the second half, but Ibrahimovic still managed to play in winger Bajrami, who chipped the fifth goal over the onrushing Jaakkola with seven minutes left.
In third place are Hungary, who were made to work hard by minnows San Marino for a 3-0 away win.
Zoltan Liptak netted five minutes before halftime, after Krisztian Nemeth had missed a couple of chances for the visitors, and Imre Szabics then scored soon after the break with Vladimir Koman rounding off the win seven minutes from time.
San Marino, who next visit the Dutch in September when Hungary host Sweden, are bottom with no points from seven games but will take heart from another encouraging performance after having only lost 1-0 at home to Finland last Friday.
In Group D, Belarus toiled to a 2-0 win at home to Luxembourg, while Bosnia-Herzegovina eked out a 2-0 win at home to Albania.
Second-half goals from midfielders Haris Medunjanin and Darko Maletic gave Bosnia victory in a scrappy game.
The result lifted Bosnia two places up to third with 10 points from six matches, two behind second-placed Belarus who have played a game more after beating Luxembourg 2-0.
Leaders France have 13 points from six matches, while Albania, who have eight points from six games, dropped one place down to fifth behind Romania on goal difference.
The Bosnians enjoyed much of the possession in the first half but failed to create any clear-cut chances against a packed Albanian defence.
The home side pressed forward after the interval and Misimovic had keeper Samir Ujkani at full stretch while striker Edin Dzeko, who had a quiet game, headed wide from close range before Medunjanin finally broke the deadlock on 67 minutes.
Defensive midfielder Boris Pandza floated a long ball down the middle and Medunjanin took it in his stride superbly to steer it into the bottom left corner.
Albania's second-half substitute Andi Lila was sent off in the 87th minute for a reckless tackle on Elvir Rahimic and the visitors were soon punished after they were caught out on the break.
Wing-back Maletic raced clear from his markers after a delightful through ball and beat Ujkani with a crisp low shot from just inside the penalty box in added time.
In Belarus’ match, substitute Sergei Kornilenko opened the scoring with a 48th-minute penalty after coming on at the start of the second half, then assisted on a second for Anton Putilo in the 73rd minute.
The home side dominated for most of a game played at a leisurely pace but wasted several chances to add to their total.
Bottom-placed Luxembourg earned their only point in seven matches by holding Belarus to a 0-0 home draw last October.