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Friday, 21 June, 2002, 08:11 GMT 09:11 UK

England's new sex symbol

By Marcelle d'Argy Smith
Former editor, Cosmopolitan

He may look like Mr Burns out of The Simpsons, but as England progress through the World Cup many women are starting to see Sven-Goran Eriksson in a different light.


His companion of the last three years is 38-year-old Nancy dell'Olio, a stunningly dressed and beautiful Italian. She has lustrous long hair and a body that speaks volumes in a bikini.

When Sven played away his built-up shoes were to be found outside the bedroom door of Ulrika Jonsson, a bodacious woman even if she is not about to qualify for membership to Mensa.

According to her enthusiastic mother, Ulrika was much taken with Sven. Many of my female friends, nod and smile when Sven's name crops up: of course Sven's attractive.

Men are puzzled. They don't get Sven-Goran Eriksson. They're baffled at what a vast swathe of the female population can see in a Swedish football manager in his mid-50s with receding hair and rimless glasses who's not known for his sense of humour.

Swedes don't do humour. And they don't do male sex appeal, apart from those blokes from Abba and Bjorn Borg. So what is it with Sven?

It wasn't instant attraction. But he's most things we want and need in a man, sooner or later.

That's why he's dangerously seductive.

Sven is not threatened by intelligent women. Nancy, apart from being glamorous and sophisticated, is a lawyer.

He was confident enough to pursue her and interesting enough to keep her.

Sexually he must be up to scratch because she doesn't look the type to hang around for lacklustre sex. They do good restaurants and good holidays and he looks the type to do good books.

Dazzling skills

He's a quiet and private man. The type who's yours, belongs to you, not other people. If he drives a flash car, we haven't seen it. If the inside of his home is like Beckingham Palace, or Buckingham Palace, we've no idea.

He doesn't seek publicity, doesn't talk about himself. He's wise, measured, grown-up.

His man-management skills are dazzling. He took the England players in hand and turned them into not just winners, but the well-behaved, focused, English team we're so proud of.

We're over the moon and beside ourselves about the team that Sven created.

Take them all on

"We won it and we're in the quarter-final," he said after England beat Denmark 3-0. There's a modesty about the man, even in moments of triumph.

Such a change from the strutting arrogance of so many successful men. You get the feeling Sven could calmly, brilliantly run the country, Railtrack, the NHS - easy.

These are qualities that make women sigh. How many natural born leaders of men do you meet who are so unassuming, so intuitive and so low-key?

He's a hero to the men of England. "Sven's the man," they say.

This man is a modest hero who's good sex, brilliantly successful at his job and has a list of female qualities as long as your arm - only a man could be so dumb as to ask why Sven's attractive to women.

They won't be when England beat Brazil. "We get it" men will say when the cheers have stopped on Sunday night. And we women will simply sigh again.


Does Sven make you swoon? Send us your comments (and let's remember children could be reading) using the form below.

Have your say

Some of your comments so far:

He is one cool cookie... that's always very seductive!
Beckie, UK

Yuk, yuk, yuk!!! Give me David Beckham any day!
Holly, UK

He looks a real gentleman, in his smart suits, and he has put England back on the footballing world stage in record time.
Norah, England

He is style personified ... yum!
Karen, UK/USA

What with the hairstyle, bad teeth and a pointed nose he could really pass as a Brit!
Freya, Australia

Now England is out .... he is not so sexy any more.
John, USA

Stereotype image of football coach is screaming and shouting at the game endlessly. Sven is the opposite; a quiet and intelligent coach who even appreciates classical music. That's what I like about him.
Yoko, Japanese in USA

Erm...I don't really find Sven sexy. May have something to do with me being a guy...
Barnaby, Britain

Sweden is famous for Abba, Volvos and the highest suicide rate in the world. I'm sure there must be a link between these.
Joker, England

It's called power, stature and fame! It has been wooing women for years.
Helen, UK

"Has she no taste?" I said when told by my daughter that my one-year-old granddaughter had been trying to kiss Sven Goran on the telly. "Actually I'm developing quite a thing for him myself," she replied. Frankly, I'm baffled.
Susan, Japan

Of course... to be... er... a... sex, er... symbol is, er... fantastic, but maybe we will... have to wait and see if everything is, er... how you say... OK in... this, er... waldkup
'Sven', Japan

Sven? Sexy? Erm... Shiny more like.
Sally, Wales

You have to be kidding. This is clearly a case of the Emperor's invisible clothes. Or rather, the manager's invisible good looks.
Cheryl, Barbados

He's sexy because he has an air of mystery, which also makes him interesting and charismatic. He's someone you just want to get close to!
Lynne, UK

I don't think Sven is sexy at all. This country needs to appreciate more cultivated individuals who do not associate themselves with football, and as a result, go largely un-noticed. Like me.
Tim Halsall, Bristol, England

" Tony Blair is gorgeous to mid-50s Germans "
Michael Hunt, UK

Why bother expressing an opinion about ANYone till you meet them? Ulrika soon lost interest and Tony Blair is gorgeous to mid-50s Germans. Sven would agree - you know it.
Michael Hunt, UK

The truth is that almost all Swedish men are mature, intelligent, cultured gentlemen. They are also very funny (Sven might not be the best example here). On top of that they are excellent in bed, and I am not biased.
Peter, Sweden

Sven will he be mine?
Vicki T

" He's done it for me since day one "
Hayley Stamp, UK

I just love Sven, he's done it for me since day one! More importantly he's an honourary Englishman, and has a fantastic football brain.
Hayley Stamp, UK

I'm from Sweden and all this about Sven is crazy I tell you! I'm glad English girls want him because Swedish ones sure don't!
Daniel, Sweden

I dare say Sven has a penny or two. That always helps.
David, USA

How attractive is a man that strays anyway? Especially from a beautiful girlfriend like he's got? The mind boggles.
Tracey Dare, UK

Pah! Men like him are Sven a penny...
Tom H, England

Yuk! Mick McCarthy, now there's a gorgeous footy manager if you want one, the best legs too!
Tara, Ireland

But why has no-one mentioned his horrible teeth?
Sam Crawshaw, UK

Had England gone out in the first round, you'd have been comparing him to a turnip or an onion. Get a sense of perspective and drop the hype.
Mark, UK

He's the embodiment of the saying "still waters run deep". All that repressed emotion must be expressed somewhere! Plus his accent is SO seductive...
Carolyn, UK

It's gratifying to read that in this day and age at least some women can appreciate a mature, intelligent and cultured gentleman. I was beginning to think that male sex appeal is limited to those who look as though they belong in a boyband!
Peter, England

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