Match-winner Karen Carney: We'll be sharper next time out

Wednesday 13 Apr 2016
Karen Carney celebrates her dramatic late winner for England Women against Bosnia & Herzegovina

After her last-gasp winner in Bosnia, Karen Carney is confident England will be sharper when they meet up for a EURO 2017 qualifying double-header against Serbia in June.

The Chelsea forward, making her first international start since last year’s World Cup bronze medal match, scored an 86th-minute winner to spare the Lionesses’ blushes against the Group 7 minnows.

Bosnia & Herzegovina 0-1 England

UEFA Women's EURO 2017
Qualifying Group 7
3pm (BST), Tuesday 12 April
Zenica, Bosnia & Herzegovina  


Mark Sampson’s side were in total control for the whole game but were faced with 11 players defending in their own half, including a goalkeeper who was in inspired form.

However, Carney believes we will see a fitter England in the summer given players are still working towards full match fitness, with The FA WSL season still in its infancy.

She said: “A lot of us haven’t played that much so it will be good to go back home and get playing football again.

“Now we’ve got a couple of months where we can go back to our clubs and get more match fitness. In a couple of months I’m sure everyone will be firing and buzzing.

“You forget that there isn’t much time between major championships, in terms of number of camps, so it’s important that every meet-up is productive, useful and the team are on point and doing well.

“We need to be positive for the next two games and get two more wins.” 

Carney is mobbed after her late winner in Zenica

The top team in each of the eight groups plus the six best runners-up will make it to the EURO 2017 finals in the Netherlands next summer.

Two more wins would put England in a strong position – they are a point behind leaders Belgium but with a game in hand.

A win over Bosnia was important to keep the pressure on Belgium and ensure England’s destiny was still in their own hands.

But match-winner Carney, who turned home an Alex Greenwood cross at the second attempt, explained how frustrating the match was to play in.

She added: “Those sorts of games are always so difficult.

“They just totally denied us space – it was like a game of chess. We needed to keep pulling them out because at times they played with five at the back – one would pull out to close down and another would fill in the gap.

“It was so frustrating, but once you get that goal you know things will be OK.

“I thought we’d get one more chance and I thought it would fall to Eni [Aluko] or Fran [Kirby] but I just ambled into the box and no-one picked me up.

“It is a cliché, but it didn’t matter who scored the goal. We just needed the win – we hadn’t won in four games and we needed the result and the three points.

“There was so much relief when that goal went in. The last few performances had been good, we just haven’t been getting the results, but this time we got the result when the performance probably wasn’t that great.

"But we got the result, and that’s what we need.”

England will take on Serbia at Wycombe Wanderers’ Adams Park on Saturday 4 June.

Tickets are priced £7.50 for adults and £3.50 for children, and can be bought via the Wycombe Wanderers website or by calling 01494 441 118.

By Glenn Lavery in Zenica