Raheem Sterling's second-half goal gave England a winning start to the European Championships against Croatia at Wembley.
Kalvin Phillips, who more than justified his selection from Gareth Southgate with a fantastic display, picked the ball up on the right flank and beat Duje Caleta-Car before slipping through Sterling who squeezed an effort past Dominik Livakovic.
England began the game in a thrilling fashion, forcing their opponents on the back foot and were unlucky not to take the lead in the sixth minute when Phil Foden saw an effort come back off the post.
UEFA Nations League
Who was promoted and relegated in UEFA Nations League?
28/09/2022 AT 10:59
Although England could not maintain this momentum throughout the match they still created more chances to extend the lead with Harry Kane and Sterling both guilty of missing chances to enhance the scoreline.
Jude Bellingham made a late substitute appearance to become the youngest player in the tournament's history, aged 17 years and 349 days.
This was England's first victory in an opening game in the European Championship at the 10th attempt and will only fuel belief this side can challenge at the business end of the tournament. They have five days now to prepare for their next game against the 'Auld Enemy' Scotland, while Croatia will look to kick-start their tournament against the Czech Republic.

TALKING POINT - Southgate deserves trust

When the teams were announced there were a lot of question marks. Picking Kieran Trippier at left-back was a risk that could have been mocked, but the best full-back of the season in La Liga played a fine game.
And despite his sometime patchy form for Manchester City, Raheem Sterling has never let down Gareth Southgate in an England shirt and his selection was again rewarded as he terrified Croatia with the threat he posed getting behind the defence which more fancied selections would not have provided.

Southgate praises composure of England players in win over Croatia

And Kalvin Phillips... Marcelo Bielsa is a pretty good judge of a player and Southgate obviously shares his thoughts on the Leeds midfielder. He was trusted to play a little further up field than usual and it paid off in droves.
The line-up will change throughout the tournament and there will be times when teams are picked which supporters will disagree with again, but England are lucky to have a coach prepared to make bold decisions and enjoys the trust of his squad.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Kalvin Phillips (England)

There are some players who are doubted before major tournaments and then prove themselves once the competition begins.
Owen Hargreaves was one such player in the 2006 World Cup, who totally won over England fans with his display against Portugal. Although in a lesser game, Phillips did similarly here. He does not have the outrageous skills of other England midfielders but his energy stopped Croatia’s midfield from settling, his runs kept them in a defensive frame of mind and in the key moment of the game, he created the goal.


England: Pickford 7; Walker 5, Stones 7, Mings 7, Trippier 7; Rice 7, Phillips 9; Foden 6, Mount 8, Sterling 7; Kane 6. Subs: Rashford 6, Bellingham 7, Calvert-Lewin 6.
Croatia: Livakovic 6; Vrsaljko 7, Vida 6, Caleta-Car 6, Gvardiol 5; Brozovic 5; Kramaric 6, Modric 6, Kovacic 6, Perisic 7; Rebic 5. Subs: Vlasic 6, Brekalo 6, Petkovic 6, Pasalic 6.

'I've blocked the outside world off' - Sterling


6' Off the post! Foden comes so close to scoring for England. Sterling played the ball through to him on the right flank and, as we have seen so many times for City, he cut onto his left foot and shot low at the far post - but though the keeper was beaten it bounced out to safety.
57' GOAL! England 1-0 Croatia (Sterling): Sterling scores from point blank range after Phillips beat a man from the right flank and then slipped him in.
65' Great chance for Rebic. Kovacic shot from 25 yards out and it is blocked by Stones into the striker's path but as Walker and Stones looked to protect the goal he skewed his effort wide.
65' Great football from England with Foden drifting to the left and linking with Sterling before Mount puts a ball to the back post that looked certain to be knocked in by Kane but Caleta-Car did enough to put off the England captain and he skewed his effort wide.
67' A good curling and dipping free-kick from Mount but it came down just the wrong side of the crossbar, though in fairness the keeper looked like he would have stopped it.


World Cup
There’s hope for every nation heading into the World Cup – The Warm-Up
28/09/2022 AT 05:33
UEFA Nations League
Well at least England fans agree on Bellingham – The Warm-Up
27/09/2022 AT 07:16