Carney calls on pundits to cut Lionesses slack at EURO 2022

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Carney was one of the star turns in the glitzy draw held at Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
Carney was one of the star turns in the glitzy draw held at Victoria Warehouse, Manchester

Karen Carney called on fellow pundits to rally behind the Lionesses as Sarina Wiegman's stars aim to rise to the occasion on home soil at UEFA Women's EURO 2022, writes Tom Harle.

Carney was part of last England team to play host at the tournament as they crashed out in the group stages in 2005.

Germany or Denmark potentially lie in wait for the current crop in the quarter-finals and Carney wants her media colleagues to play their part.

The 34-year-old from Solihull, who played over 50 times for Birmingham, said: "I think what we've got to do is not add that pressure and say 'go and enjoy it'.

"There's a difference in how ourselves in the media can flip that and be like 'we're behind you' and not make it pressurising and say we're supportive.

"I think we can do that. I hope that every time they walk out, they have everyone behind them - that would be awesome."

The 2005 final was held at Blackburn's Ewood Park in front of 21,000, with Birgit Prinz's Germany beating Denmark 3-1.

17 years later, hopes will be for a sold-out Wembley for the final on 31 July, that will come a year later than expected.

And with tickets now on sale, Carney is allowing herself to do some dreaming of full houses and generations of young girls inspired.

"I hope that when the players walk out for the opening game that it is absolutely packed, it is absolutely booming," she said.

"I hope there's more media than I've ever seen in my life and the nation gets behind England.

"I hope that every player that represents England on that day walks out and feels like a trillion dollars and that everyone's behind them. That's where I would see growth for us."

Carney was one of those tasked with drawing the balls and firing the starting gun on England's bid for a first-ever major trophy.

The closest they have come on the continental stage was runners-up in 2009, beaten 6-2 by Germany in the final in Finland.

Carney feels her former side are well set to go one better having avoided any of the big beasts in the field of 16.

"I think England will happy with that draw," she said.

"I think with the tournament, you've got to grow into it, gain confidence, get your big players scoring and firing.

"That's not a disrespect to anyone in the groups, but I think the other groups are a little bit harder."

The UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 ticket ballot application window is now open and closes 16 November. For more information and to enter the public ballot for tickets, visit www.uefa.com/womenseuro/ticketing

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