Euro 2016

The Swedish love and hate affair with English football

The Swedish love and hate affair with English football
Swedish players celebrate a goal in the 3-2 defeat to England in Kiev in 2012. Photo: TT
England is most Swedes’ second team at Euro 2016, but Roy Hodgson’s men are the team Swedes most want to beat at the tournament, according to a poll from Swedish Radio and Sifo polling institute.

Although the poll finds that most Swedish football fans love English football, and would support England if Sweden was knocked out, of any nation at the championships they also most want to beat England.

“It's fair to say that Swedes have a special relationship with English football. We want their national team to succeed but it's also the team that we want to beat most of all,” Swedish Radio's football expert Richard Henriksson told Radio Sweden.

However, Henriksson doubts that the love is reciprocated. “There is a kind of little brother dynamic at play here,” he said of Swedes’ admiration of English football.

Sweden last met England in a competitive match at the 2012 Euros in Ukraine. England ran out 3-2 winners.

The Swedish team is taking on Republic of Ireland at Paris' Stade de France in their first European championship match tomorrow.

The Swedes also face Belgium and Italy in Group E.