All you need to know about Sweden on and off the football pitch

Gorgeous views, Sven, novelty viking hats and pastries - all you need to know about Sweden. Credit: PA

The next stop on England’s route to lifting the World Cup is a quarter-final showdown against Sweden.

Instead of stressing and nervously sweating over the thought of another penalty shootout – why not learn a little more about our next opponent.

There’s plenty more to the country, home to 10 million people, than Ikea, Abba and Björn Borg.

  • Record against England

The Swedes have a good record against England. In competitive matches, it’s one win each and two draws: Sweden 2-1 England at the 1992 European Championships, Sweden 1-1 England at the 2002 World Cup, Sweden 2-2 England at the 2006 World Cup, and Sweden 2-3 England at the 2012 European Championships.

Most recently, Sweden defeated England at Wembley after a masterclass from superstar Swede, Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Luckily for the Three Lions, he was omitted from the Swedish World Cup squad this time around.

  • Emil Forsberg: The danger man

England will have to stop Sweden's No 10, Emil Forsberg Credit: PA

Sweden beat Switzerland in their Round of 16 knockout match and they had their midfield creator, Emil Forsberg, to thank.

Not shy of attempting a shot – his goal came with his 14th shot of the tournament – England will have to make sure to close him down.

  • Sven-Göran Eriksson

Sven-Göran Eriksson managed the England national team from 2001 to 2006. Credit: PA

He’s a blast from the past. Sven-Göran Eriksson became the first foreign manager to take charge of the England national team in 2001.

Eriksson was in charge for the song-worthy 5-1 victory against Germany but ultimately presided over three successive quarter-final exits - including a 3-1 defeat on penalties against Portugal – remembered for Wayne Rooney's infamous stamp on Ricardo Carvalho and Cristiano Ronaldo’s wink.

Off the pitch, Eriksson faced intense media scrutiny after speculation grew about a relationship with fellow Swede and TV personality Ulrika Jonsson.

  • Swedes are excellent at English

Swedes are among the most proficient at English. Credit: PA

We have more in common than you think – and language plays a big part of that.

In 2012 and 2013, Sweden was ranked at the top of the EF English Proficiency Index – a report which analyses countries based on their understanding and use of the English language.

  • Nudity

Nudity often takes the form of streaking in the UK. Credit: PA

The culture towards nudity in Sweden is far more relaxed than in the UK.

From skinny-dipping to saunas, there is no shame.

  • Cash

Card - not cash - is king in Sweden. Credit: PA

Sweden has moved to an almost cashless society - just 1% of the value of all payments made was by notes or coins in 2017.

The trend has spread to all areas of Swedish society.

For instance, sellers of the Swedish equivalent to the Big Issue have portable card readers to accept payments.

  • Alcohol

Inside a Systembolaget - the Swedish state alcohol monopoly. Credit: PA

Unlike in England where you can get buy alcohol at almost any hour – Sweden is stricter.

Drinks that contain more than 3.5% alcohol can only be purchased at the state-owned shop Systembolaget.

Opening hours are 10am-6pm weekdays, 10am-1pm on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.

  • The six-hour working day

Sweden has experimented with the duration of the working day. Credit: PA

Businesses in Sweden experimented with six-hour working days between 2015 and 2017.

A report by the think tank EuroCite says the scheme “started with a view to improve work-life balance and gender equality.

"The focus, however, has shifted to reducing stress and sickness at work, and making the work place more attractive.”

The government has not introduced legislation but increasingly more private companies are changing their working hours after the experiment – and is also being adopted abroad.

  • Doors

Just imagine if you had to pull to open... Credit: PA

Swedish doors open outwards rather than inwards.

Perhaps it doesn’t sound too annoying but we all know how it feels when you need to pull instead of push...

There is no official reason as to why but theories include – in case of fire it is easier to open a door from inside, to avoiding snow falling through the door when entering.

  • Pastries

Swedes love a pastry - and it's easy to see why. Credit: PA

Swedes love them. On national holidays or occasions such as Gustav II Adolf Day or Lucia Day – there is a special pastry associated.

And sometimes there are occasions just for pastries – in Sweden, October 4th is Cinnamon Bun Day.

The optimum time for a pastry is during ‘Fika’ – meaning “to have coffee” – but is essentially a Swedish equivalent of afternoon tea.