The highly anticipated tournament opener for England was slightly underwhelming in terms of entertainment value. England bagged 3 points courtesy of Raheem Sterling’s 2nd half goal. Overall, the match was a bit cagey and both teams looked anything but lethal in front of goal.
Gareth Southgate’s starting line-up was surprising to say the least. Despite having both Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell at his disposal, he opted for Kieran Trippier at left back. Raheem Sterling, who has had a disappointing season by his standards, started the match ahead of the likes of Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford.
The most shocking feature of the England team was the fact that Jadon Sancho didn’t even make the bench. Kalvin Phillips was the star of the show. He dominated the centre of the pitch, which is not an easy thing to do when you are up against players us Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic.
Croatia clearly looked a weaker side compared to the one that finished as runners up at the 2018 World Cup. Not only are some of their players past their prime, but they also missed the likes of Mandzukic and Rakitic. They were able to match England for both possession and shots, which is a good sign for their next few matches.
England started their campaign with a professional win and will be delighted as this was the first time in their history that they have won the opening match of a European Championship. Jude Bellingham became the youngest player to appear in the Euros as he came on as late substitute.
England will hope that the likes of Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson will be fully fit sooner rather than later. While Phillips didn’t let Henderson’s absence affect the team, Maguire’s deputy Tyrone Mings had a solid display as well. The left-footed centre back was a rock for England and was one of the best players on the pitch.
England will face Scotland in their next match and will look for a win to secure their place in the round of 16. Croatia will travel to Scotland wot face Czech Republic in the next match.