Sterling gives England opening win over Croatia

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England break their opening EURO match jinx with a well earned victory against Croatia. Raheem Sterling finally found his tournament touch when his goal gave England a deserved 1-0 win over Croatia at Wembley on Sunday as they began a European Championship with a victory for the first time in nine attempts.

On a boiling hot day England started strongly, lost their way for a while but regained control as Croatia barely managed a shot, giving the home side the early advantage in Group D that also includes Scotland and the Czech Republic.

England players celebrate their first goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 group D preliminary round soccer match between England and Croatia in London, Britain, 13 June 2021. EPA-EFE/Andy Rain / POOL)

The Croats kept England at bay in the first half when the hosts were on top, but Dalić’s side conceded in the second half when they’d fought their way back into the game.  The winning goal came from Raheem Sterling.

The match also saw Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham become the youngest player to appear in the finals of the tournament, aged 17 years and 349 days.

The game lacked the drama and jeopardy of the teams’ 2018 World Cup semi-final, won by Croatia, and losing on Sunday was no disaster for them given the way the draw pans out, but it was a morale-boosting victory for England as they set off once again in search of their first title since 1966.

UPDATE – A football fan has been taken to hospital in a serious condition after falling from a stand during England’s opening Euro 2020 match at Wembley. They were hurt just after kick-off at 14:00 BST in the match against Croatia. “The spectator was given on-site medical attention and was then taken to hospital,” a stadium spokesperson said. They added that Wembley is working with tournament organisers Uefa to ensure the matter is fully investigated and are monitoring the situation.

Reuters / UEFA / BBC