It was thought that the 35 year-old was here for sentimental reasons. Nobody told the former AC Milan and Chelsea striker.
His two goals — the first cancelling out Ibrahimovic's effort and the second to go one better — gave the co-host Ukraine an all-important victory in its first game of the tournament.
Monday's games are through and Ukraine is the unlikely group leader. Why can't the yellow-clad fans dream of a place in the final on July 1?
France and England are tied with one point each, while Sweden has a lot of work to do if it wants to claw its way out from the cellar.
4:06 p.m., 2-1 Ukraine: This is Shevchenko's last major tournament. It's possibly his last few games as a player.
But the Ukrainian legend is looking to go out on top. He scored his second goal of the half in the 62nd minute.
Oleh Gusev delivered a corner kick to the near post. Shevchenko, who was marked (poorly) by Ibrahimovic, darted toward it and flashed a header past the goalkeeper and the defender standing on the post.
Somewhere Chelsea fans are thinking, "why can't we get players like that."
3:59 p.m., 1-1: Ten years ago, Andriy Shevchenko was the man at AC Milan. Ibrahimovic is now, but the 35-year-old Shevchenko just tied the game for Ukraine.
He scored with a thundering header in the 55th minute.
Swedens' lead was all too short-lived, as its fans were still celebrating Ibrahimovic's goal. Apparently the Swedish players were as well. It's game on.
3:56 p.m., 1-0 Sweden: There's that man we were just (politely) mocking about.
Ibrahimovic scores in the 52 minute to put Sweden ahead in Kiev, Ukraine. It came from a defensive error, and the AC Milan striker redirected a cross past the goalkeeper.
Halftime, 0-0: Part of the appeal of major tournaments is the presence of superstars donning their national colors.
Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the best players in the world, but you may not know it by watching the first half of Ukraine-Sweden.
The striker had one scoring chance, which he fluffed, and made little impact on the first half.
Sweden hasn't given him much support, as it is content to sit back and look for opportunities to counter when Ukraine goes forward. The problem is, Ukraine is largely doing the same thing. The first half was worse off for it, and we can only hope it gets better.
3:00 p.m.: It's simply a yellow overload in this meeting between co-host Ukraine and Scandanivian visitor Sweden.
Most of the fans are wearing the bright yellow Ukraine shirts. Sweden's players have the bright yellow portion of its flag emblazoned across their chests.
That's all you've missed. There hasn't been much in this game, but there is still around 75 minutes left to play.
Final, 1-1: England and France play to a draw, which both teams will gladly take.
France passed the ball better and was more threatening thoughout, but the resolute English defense kept it at bay for most of the game.
England created little, and didn't pose much of a threat going forward. But it finished one of the few chances it created. It was typical stuff from a Roy Hodgson team — efficient, but not covered in glory.
England and France are in good positions after one game. They can reasonably hope to win their next two games and advance to the knockout rounds. But that's a best-case scenario, and Euro 2012 has already thrown a couple of surprises our way.
1:35 p.m., 1-1: Hodgson moves first. Jordan Henderson replaces Parker, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain leaves with Jermaine Defoe taking his place.
Defoe lost his father on the eve of the tournament. The Tottenham striker flew back to London for the services and rejoined the team. He will be certainly be full of emotion, but imagine what will happen should he score the winning goal for England.
1:25 p.m., 1-1: It's still tied here in the second half, but England has come out of its shell — if only slightly.
With 20 minutes remaining in the game, the chess match between coaches Laurent Blanc and Roy Hodgson will reach its decisive stages.
The heat is sweltering in Donetsk, and substitutes have a chance to come on and make a serious impact.
12:45 p.m., 1-1: It's halftime in Donetsk, Ukraine, and the score is even at one goal apiece.
France had the better of play throughout the half, but England took an improbable 1-0 lead on the half-hour mark.
Lescott headed in Gerrard's delivery, and it looked like England was going to win it the Chelsea way. Despite conceding the advantage in possession, England was defending well and limiting France's opportunities.
But Nasri, well-schooled as he is in the art of English soccer, slipped a shot past Hart at the near post. He must have remembered something in training, or figured the English goalkeeper was having trouble coping with the heat (like the Celtics).
The word coming out of the England camp is that a draw would be an acceptible result. If France wins the game, it will have designs on winning Group D. We'll see what happens in the second half.
12:40 p.m., 1-1: Samir Nasri beats his City teammate Hart with a low drive to tie the game. It comes just ten minutes after Lescott's opener.
The texts will be flying at a furious pace between the two club mates.
The France winger didn't take it easy on Hart and Lescott. Those season-long friendships have gone out the window now that they're playing for country.
12:30 p.m., 1-0 England: England takes the lead in the 30th minute after Joleon Lescott heads home a Steve Gerrard free kick.
12:15 p.m., 0-0: France has controlled play, but England's mistakes have been the highlights thus far.
Joe Hart bobbled a corner kick, and James Milner scuffed a shot when he was one-on-one against the goalkeeper.
The Manchester City midfielder rarely scores at club level and he carried the form onto the international stage.
11:55 a.m.: God Save the Queen and La Marseillaise, the national anthems of England and France have been sung and respected by both sets of fans. It looks like they've put aside those old cultural and historical differences.
11:30 a.m.: So much has been said about England, it's manager Roy "the Redeemer" Hodgson, snubs, injuries that it's easy to forget there is a game to play.
England meets France in a matchup of two familiar foes. France has dominated over the last 15 years, winning four and drawing one. Although the teams don't often meet, many of France's players have compteted against Monday's opponents in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League.
11:00 a.m. ET: Hello, fans. Welcome back to our live coverage of Euro 2012.
We'll bring you live updates — goals, stars and breakout performances, — from each of the group-stage games. Instead of our usual play-by-play, we'll update you on the major events of each day's action. We'll have pregame, halftime and postgame anaylsis with added insight and opinion between games.
The opening round of games concludes on Monday with action in Group D. England meets France and co-hosts Ukraine takes on Sweden.