Pernille Harder and Magdalena Eriksson are one of football’s power couples.
The two are respected footballers at the most elite level in their own right, but they were catapulted into the spotlight after a photo of them at the 2019 World Cup went viral.
Since then, they have become role models to the LGBTQ+ community.
Sweden had just beaten Canada to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup and Eriksson went to do what any player would do with their partner in the crowd. She went over to Harder, who plays for the Danish national team but was sporting a Sweden jersey, to celebrate. The two were snapped sharing a kiss.
The image was shared thousands of times across social media. The two received heartwarming responses in abundance as supporters praised them for bringing LGBTQ+ representation to the biggest stage in football in such a casual manner.
Harder and Eriksson appeared on an episode of KFC’s ‘Wingmen’ YouTube series and spoke about how the photo came about and the aftermath of it all.
“I kissed you, the picture was taken, and suddenly we just had 20,000 more followers on Instagram and Twitter,” Harder explained. “I didn’t get it, like what happened?”
Eriksson went on to say the impact of the photo made the two of them “role models” as people looked to them and appreciated the openness of their relationship.
“A lot of people were looking at us and were happy to be able to see that people can be open.
“If you’re two girls in love, or a girl and boy, or two boys, it doesn’t matter — that’s the message we wanted to share.
“It was a complete coincidence the picture was taken but it ended up becoming a really beautiful thing.”
Over the years, women’s football, without even trying, has created a safe place for supporters of all backgrounds. Harder and Eriksson are two players right at the heart of the community the sport has built.