England ace Karen Carney seeks big crowd in Walsall to maintain Olympic high
England v Croatia
UEFA Women's Euro 2013
Group 6 qualifier
5pm, Wednesday 19 September 2012
Banks's Stadium, Walsall FC
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Karen Carney hopes Banks’s Stadium will be the venue where the nation’s increasing love for women’s football will continue to flourish.
England ace Carney was a key member of the Team GB women’s squad at London 2012 and she was delighted to see bumper crowds at all their matches – in Cardiff, Wembley and Coventry.
But now her focus has now shifted from the Olympics to the European Championship, as England prepare to take on Croatia in Walsall on Wednesday 19 September and a victory for Hope Powell’s side will seal their place at Euro 2013.
Carney said: “The Olympics was the best experience of my life.
“The whole country got behind us and the women’s tournament in general and I think we helped to change a lot of people’s perception of women’s football.
“I think that shows how much the game has progressed. The Olympics proved that women’s football has got a really big following in this country so I’d like to think that we’d get a good crowd at Walsall.
She added: “It’s a really important game for us.
“If we win it we qualify for the Euros and that would be another opportunity for us to promote women’s football, so a big crowd at Walsall could help us do that.”
European Championship qualification is clearly Carney’s focal point, but on a personal note the Birmingham-born bag of tricks is relishing the chance to play for England so close to home.
“Walsall is just up the M6 from me so it’s great for me to be playing for my country so close to where I live,” she said.
“I have played there twice before. It’s a great stadium, they’ve got a great pitch and I’m looking forward to going there again.
“Hopefully we can get the three points we need to make it to the Euros.”
Following on from the success of the England Football Party held before the last home qualifier, against Holland in June, the family-friendly festival will take place outside the stadium before the game.
Fans are once again urged to come dressed in face paints, wigs and fancy dress and be prepared to make some noise.