LINUS LINDAHL / AIPS* in AL-AIN: He has been using big words like ”shocking the world” from the beginning. In Friday’s thrilling quarter-final against Honduras Valmir Berisha continued with a stunning backheeled goal to beat Honduras 2-1 and send Sweden to the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013.

The identity of the idol of the Halmstad forward has become increasingly. The acrobatic first goal against  Nigeria with a high kick,  his strength in the air and – of course – the crucial backheel goal against Honduras points directly to Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“I hope he saw it and that he knows he is my idol. A greeting from him would not feel bad. He taught me how to do these things through his videos,”, said Berisha after victory over Honduras in Al-Ain.

Describing his latest goal show he said immediately after the game: ”I got the ball a bit from me and fortunately it went in. I am not going to sleep tonight. A heel in a quarter-final feels like a hat-trick”.

After the 2-1 victory over Japan in the second round Ibrahimovic sent message of best wishes and good luck to the Swedish players. Ideally Berisha would like his idol to support the team in United Arab Emirates while accepting that Champions and French League fixtures might be a problem.

Berisha joked: “If he could come to our hotel maybe I can teach him something.”

But he does not want to be called his team’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Berisha said: “No. Zlatan is an incredible player. I still play for Halmstad’s under-19s.”


* AIPS, the international sports journalists association, is running a Young Reporters course at the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 with the support of the local organising committee and FIFA

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