Euro 2022: Karen Carney predicts champions, Golden Boot & England’s stars

Karen Carney

The wait for Euro 2022 is finally over and fans from all over the world have bought their tickets for the highly anticipated tournament.

England will host the opening match against Austria at a sold-out Old Trafford and blockbuster clashes will continue to roll out across the country until the final is held at Wembley Stadium.

Former Chelsea star and England centurion Karen Carney spoke to GiveMeSport Women about the growth of the competition and who will set the stage alight this month.

Carney, who made her international debut for the Lionesses in 2005, has watched the sport blossom over the years.

The midfielder turned pundit admitted she always felt there was “an appetite” for women’s football during her playing days. Now, as England prepare to host their second European Championship, the demand for the sport has never been higher.

“There was always an inkling. My first tournament in 2005 were at the Euros, we hosted it at home and there were 32,000 people there. The Olympic Games, there was 80,000 people there. So I was always like ‘hey, there’s an appetite’ but it wasn’t consistent because it wasn’t consistently in people’s vision.

“It wasn’t marketed regularly enough to give it the support that it needed. I always felt like there was an appetite there but I also felt we needed a lot more support and investment.”

Pundit and former footballer Karen Carney

Indeed, the tide of the women’s game has shifted significantly over the last 15 years. Carney was talking as research from booking.com showed more than 78 per cent of England fans say many of today’s professional female footballers are just as skilful as their top male counterparts.

The narrative of constantly being compared to male players is something that women’s football continues to endure. However, with tournaments like Euro 2022 and the 2019 World Cup acting as flagships for the sport, more appreciation is being shown than ever before.

Euro 2022 will put some of the world’s biggest talents on display across famous English venues.

Ahead of the highly anticipated competition, Carney gave some predictions.

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Women's Euro trophy

When was the UEFA Women’s Euro founded?

Who will win Euro 2022?

After winning the Arnold Clark Cup, England are up there as one of the favourites to win Euro 2022. However, there are plenty of other European powerhouses who pose a serious threat to the home nation.

“Look, I want England to win and I will back England, they’re my team, but if you take that aside, Sweden are very, very strong.

“I think they’ve got some top players. They finished third in the World Cup, second at the Olympics — the trajectory that they’re going on…

“I always kind of link it in three cycles. This is their third cycle now after the World Cup and the Olympics. I wonder, is it their time now? They’re well-organised, they’re well-drilled.

“I’ve played with Magdalena Eriksson and Jonna Andersson, I’ve played with Kosovare Asllani — I know their mentality. They’re very, very good and the players are mentally tough.”

They’re strong in all areas. I think they’re the most complete team.

Carney also tipped France, Norway and England to be right in the thick of the battle for the title.

England Women
Jill Scott of England celebrates scoring their side’s fourth goal with teammates during the Women’s International friendly match between Switzerland and England at Stadion Letzigrund on June 30, 2022 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Who will finish as Euro 2022 top scorer?

Fans will be spoilt for choice with the level of talent on display this summer. Some of the world’s most prolific goal-scorers will be lighting up the pitches and fighting for the Golden Boot award.

Carney paid homage to England’s all-time women’s top scorer Ellen White and France’s Marie-Antoinette Katoto. But when it came to tipping who will finish as the tournament’s top scorer, there was one name in mind.

“I think Ada Hegerberg actually,” she said. “If you look at Norway’s group, I could see her banging in a few in the group stages and as the tournament goes on.”

BREDA, NETHERLANDS – JULY 20: Ada Hegerberg of Norway during the UEFA Womens Euro 2017 between Norway v Belgium at Rat Verlegh Stadion on July 20, 2017 in Breda, Netherlands. (Photo by Trond Tandberg/Getty Images)

Who will be England’s key players?

England manager Sarina Wiegman has selected her first major tournament squad, spearheaded by new captain Leah Williamson.

The team is stacked with a mix of experienced and youthful players who will all be vying to lift the trophy on home soil this year.

Carney plucked a few household names out of the squad list who she believes will play a crucial role in England’s Euro 2022 performances.

“I think in 2019, Beth Mead had a great World Cup off the back of a great WSL season. I’m expecting a big tournament for her, she looks fit, lean, hungry — she looks really good.

“Obviously I’m also a big Lauren Hemp fan, I have been since the minute she came into the squad as an 19 or 19-year-old and I said she was the reason why I retired. I saw the quality in her.

“Lucy Bronze looks hungry and back to her best, which is exciting. I’m excited to see Rachel Daly play as well, Fran Kirby if she can get some solid minutes, Georgia Stanway will be key as well.

“We’ve got some big players who will have to perform and step up if we’re going to get to that final and win it.”

Booking.com is the Official Accommodation Booking Partner of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022™️ and commissioned research, ahead of the tournament, to better understand the opinions of football fans in parts of Europe and determine how international football events shape passions around travel.

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