England pleased fans at Wembley Stadium as a Raheem Sterling-goal (58’) sealed a 1-0 win to open the tournament for the three lions. The game was tied 0-0 at halftime.
“I’ve always said if I play at Wembley in a major tournament, in my back garden, I’m scoring,” Sterling said.
“Growing up two minutes down the road, I know I have to score here. It was a great feeling to finally do that.”
The winning goal from a boy who grew up fewer than 600 yards from where he scored the goal from. Sterling took to Twitter to remind everyone after the match with a #BoyfromBrent hashtag.
Although different stages, there was a sense of vengeance around this matchup since England lost to Croatia in the World Cup semifinal in 2018.
England’s Kalvin Phillips — with the all-important assist — had a strong performance with 94% pass accuracy on 44 touches. More importantly, 3-of-3 successful long passes, and 1 interception.
“Kalvin Phillips was very, very good,” José Mourinho said of Phillips’ performance. “He doesn’t arrive with Champions League experience or with 25 caps on already. I don’t remember him missing a pass in a dangerous building up area.I think he was very, very good and performing the way he did, it is fantastic.”
Historic day for England as they have won their opening game at a European Championship for the first time.
“It was brilliant to have the fans in – the national anthem was really special, and something I’ll remember for a long time,” Mason Mount said. “It gives us that extra bit of energy, especially at the end when you’re tired. We want to make them proud.”
England changed from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-1-4-1 that allowed Phillips to be positioned further up the field.
“It’ll be a good game to analyze. I thought we were calm on the ball, which is something we’ve looked at,” Mount added. “It’s all about stepping up on the big stage and I felt like we did that today.”
England’s match-day 2-of-3 in the group stage is 18 June vs Scotland. Croatia, the same day, match up with the Czech Republic.