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Karen Carney on England Women's Euros hopes: “I met Sarina Wiegman recently – I thought she was amazing”

Karen Carney
(Image credit: Getty)

England’s women have twice reached the European Championship final, in 1984 and 2009, only to fall just short of glory on both occasions.

But, roared on by a passionate home support, they’re hoping to go one better this summer and finally lift the trophy.

Lionesses’ legend Karen Carney, who scored against Germany in a chastening 6-2 defeat in the 2009 final, is even more optimistic about their chances this time around, following a run to the semi-finals in 2017.

“There’s a massive buzz at the moment,” she tells FourFourTwo.com. “We’re all really excited about the tournament and how amazing it’s going to be.

“We’ve seen in the Arnold Clark Cup that England are up there. I think there’ll be four or five teams that are going to be really evenly matched, and England are one of them.

“Spain are obviously good. They’ve got Alexia Putellas, the best player in the world. She’s phenomenal, but I still don’t fear them.

“I think it will be down to momentum, fitness and how they fare on the day. The margins are going to be so small, and I think it will be the tightest tournament yet.”

England’s cause will be helped by the presence of new manager Sarina Wiegman, who took over from interim chief Hege Riise in September.

The former Netherlands defender previously led her country to success in the 2017 Euros and has enjoyed an unbeaten start with the Lionesses, winning seven of her nine games in charge.

“I had the privilege of talking to her at the Euros draw and I thought she was amazing,” says Carney. “I was motivated myself and wanted to get out and play under her.

“She was calm and kind. She was a good person, and I could see she has high standards. A winning mentality. 

Sarina Wiegman England Women coach

(Image credit: PA)

“She’s obviously won a Euros on home soil before. She’s familiar with being the host team and I think that experience will be really important for England this summer.

“Tactically she’s one of the best I’ve seen and she’s willing to take risks. I’m really proud that she’s our manager and I think she can do great things.”

Though accustomed to performing at the highest level for club and country during a stellar career, Carney still appreciates the importance of grassroots and non-league football.

She’s currently helping to promote the National Lottery Football Weekends campaign, which is making more than 100,000 tickets available for selected matches on a ‘buy one get one free’ basis. According to official figures, the National Lottery has invested more than £5.7 billion into grassroots sport since it was established in 1994.

“When this initiative came up, I was really keen to get involved. I know how important non-league football is,” says Carney, who won 144 caps for England.

“Growing up, I followed Solihull Moors with my family. Later on, I worked there, I did my dissertation there, and I scouted for them, which is how I became a pundit.

“With the pandemic, everyone’s been hit financially and the National Lottery have been outstanding in terms of committing over £12 million to support non-league teams and ensure they can survive during this difficult period.”

To find out more visit www.thenationallotteryfootballweekends.co.uk (opens in new tab)

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Sean Cole is a freelance journalist. He has written for FourFourTwo, BBC Sport and When Saturday Comes among others. A Birmingham City supporter and staunch Nikola Zigic advocate, he once scored a hat-trick at St. Andrew’s (in a half-time game). He also has far too many football shirts and spends far too much time reading the Wikipedia pages of obscure players.