Euro 2020: Sterling inspires England to victory over Croatia in hometown

England's Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game with team-mates dur

England's Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game with team-mates during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday June 13, 2021. - Credit: PA

Brent’s very own Raheem Sterling sealed England a 1-0 victory over Croatia in their Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium. 

The 26-year-old, who grew up on the doorstep of Wembley, netted his first goal in a competitive tournament for the Three Lions in the 57th minute to get them off to a strong start in the competition. 

Croatia's Sime Vrsaljko (centre) in action with England's Kieran Trippier (left) and Kalvin Phillips

Croatia's Sime Vrsaljko (centre) in action with England's Kieran Trippier (left) and Kalvin Phillips during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday June 13, 2021. - Credit: PA

The Three Lions had never previously won their opening game at a European Championship and, just as fans began to worry that run might continue, a moment of incision cut the visitors' backline open.

Prior to that, they started the game very brightly with Phil Foden hitting the post, and Kalvin Phillips having a shot saved in the first-half.

Early in the second-half Atletico Madrid full-back Trippier played a blind header towards Jordan Pickford and a Croatia man almost snuck in, but Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford managed to smash it up field. 

Croatia's Ante Rebic (left) and England's Tyrone Mings battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2020

Croatia's Ante Rebic (left) and England's Tyrone Mings battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday June 13, 2021. - Credit: PA

The Three Lions opened the scoring in the 57th minute when Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips threaded the ball through to Raheem Sterling who tucked the ball as he was bundled over from a tackle.

Croatia's Sime Vrsaljko (left) and England's Raheem Sterling in action during the UEFA Euro 2020 Gro

Croatia's Sime Vrsaljko (left) and England's Raheem Sterling in action during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday June 13, 2021. - Credit: PA

England found some momentum from the goal, moving the ball around nicely, and eventually it ended up with Mason Mount putting the ball across the box from the left. 

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Harry Kane raced in to try latch onto the ball but instead collided with the post in the 61st minute of play. 

Ante Rebic dragged an effort just wide of the target shortly after as Croatia looked to find an equaliser. 

Chelsea midfielder Mount then intercepted the ball and raced up the pitch where he was eventually brought down just outside the box and up he stepped to take the free-kick where he whistled his effort just over the crossbar. 

In the 71st minute the ball fell inside the box to Sterling but he drilled a shot over the crossbar as he found himself alone with no real pressure. 

England held firm with a solid defensive effort late on while Jude Bellingham came off the bench to become the youngest player to feature in a European Championship at the age of just 17.

England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Mings, Trippier, Rice, Phillips, Mount, Sterling (Calvert-Lewin 90), Foden (Rashford 71), Kane (Bellingham 82). 

Croatia: Livakovic, Vrsaljko, Vida, Caleta-Car, Vardiol, Modric, Brozovic (Vlasic 70), Kovacic (Pasalic 85), Kramaric (Brekalo 70), Rebic (Petkovic 78), Perisic. 


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