Tonight England will face Sweden in hopes of reaching their first major final since 2009.
While the Lionesses are the favorites going into the semi-finals playing at home, the Swedish players can count on strong support from the sidelines as well.
In particular, captain and star defender Magdalena Eriksson has had the support of her friend and Chelsea team-mate Pernille Harder throughout the tournament.
Magdalena and Danish international footballer Pernille, who met while playing for Chelsea, were photographed kissing in an intimate moment after Sweden defeated Canada at the 2019 World Cup in France.
Hailed as one of football’s ‘power couples’, the players have been together since 2014 and have established themselves as icons on and off the pitch.
Magdalena Eriksson and Pernille Harder shared a kiss after Sweden beat Canada at the 2019 World Cup in France
The pair have since become icons on and off the pitch
Magda Eriksson and her friend Pernille Harder appeared together on the front cover of Elle UK and talked about playing soccer as women
Sweden is the team standing in the way of England and their first major final since 2009
The couple appeared in a short film, “Love Always Wins” by Ten Toes earlier this year, about their relationship and coming out as gay.
Speaking about intimate clips of the couple holding hands and hugging each other, Magdalena said, “To be outside, open and be myself has been my goal since I was a kid.
“Being here today and being open about my relationship with Pernille makes me proud of myself for getting this far.
“It also makes me proud of Pernille that she’s come this far.”
She added that they now want to “help and inspire others” by being open about their relationship and encouraging other LGBT+ people to be open about who they are.
The couple also appeared with other female football players in Elle Magazine as this summer’s tournament kicked off.
With home advantage on their side, England will be light favorites on Tuesday night
She appeared with her arms around her friend as the pair donned bright pink and red tulle A-Jane dresses, saying, “Whether you’re a woman or a man, you need equal opportunity to be the best you want to be.” .’
Despite being held up as a role model in the LGBT+ community, Magda admitted that she and Pernille were never meant for their status.
She said: ‘Neither I nor Pernille had a goal to become gay role models’ Eriksson told Forbes in an interview in 2020.
“We were just really open from the start when we started seeing each other. From that moment on we both had successful careers, we both became role models and household names. It just happened.
“It’s been important for us not to hide anything and just be ourselves. Show people, that’s how it should be. That’s how we want the world to be. We want people to be able to be themselves and that’s how we want to be.’
“I didn’t know there was a photographer there, so I didn’t even know about the photo,” Harder said later. “It was just a quick kiss after a game, like we’d done other times after other games.
Harder and Eriksson have been in a relationship since 2014 and continue to trail for the sport’s jobs
Jennifer Falk and her friend announced on Instagram earlier this year that they were expecting a baby
“This time there was a camera and one thing led to another, the photo appeared on social media and there were many reactions, most of them very positive.
“It made us realize that we are role models, not only in football, but in other ways as well. It’s something we’ve accepted because we know we’re lucky to feel safe and relaxed in a relationship that’s well known.
Another role model hoping to shine on the pitch for Peter Gerhardsson’s team tonight is striker Kosovare Asllani.
The daughter of Kosovar migrants who immigrated to Sweden, Kosovar name literally translates as ‘girl from Kosovo’.
Although she represents her home country of Sweden in football, she stays true to her roots, with a tattoo of Albania’s double-headed black eagle on her ankle.
“I definitely feel like a role model,” she said Morning star online in 2017. ‘I get a lot of messages. My parents tell me that young people really look up to me because I am one of the few Albanian football players in the women’s game who has reached the highest level.
‘I was born in Sweden, but at the same time I am very proud of my heritage, that my parents were born and raised in Kosovo, I am both Albanian and Swedish.
‘I grew up with a family that showed me how people in Kosovo listen to Albanian music. I love it. We’re not a bad country.’
Target for the Swedes is mother-to-be Jennifer Falk, who recently announced on Instagram that she and her friend were expecting a baby.
She posted a photo of the couple smiling with a photo of an ultrasound and wrote: ‘We’re going to be moms! See you in the fall, little friend.’
Kosovar Asllani is the daughter of Kosovar migrants who immigrated to Sweden
Her first name – literally ‘girl from Kosovo’ – is an example of how she does not want to forget her roots
Meanwhile, fellow striker and Arsenal striker Stina Blackstenius leads the Swedish frontline
Stina Blackstenius started playing soccer with her older brother as a teenager
Swedish manager Peter Gerhardsson started his coaching career as a high school gym teacher
Meanwhile, fellow forward and Arsenal striker Stina Blackstenius leads the Swedish frontline.
Stina started playing soccer with her older brother Oscar on a team her father Magnus led, and it wasn’t until she turned 15 that she decided that soccer was the career she wanted to pursue.
The striker also has a famous sporting sister – international handball player Nina Koppang. Stina played handball herself until 2013, when she dropped the sport to pursue competitive football.
The Swedish side, led by Peter Gerhardsson, are hoping to disrupt the momentum of the Lionesses tonight at Bramall Lane, Sheffield.