πŸ† EURO 2020: England open European campaign with narrow win over Croatia
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πŸ† EURO 2020: England open European campaign with narrow win over Croatia

Raheem Sterling scored the only goal as England started their Euro 2020 campaign with a narrow 1-0 win over Croatia in Group D at Wembley on Sunday afternoon. 

The Three Lions are among the tournament favourites, but struggled for long periods against a disciplined Croatian side boasting of seasoned players.  

Many of the English fans were however left fuming over Gareth Southgate's team selection, following bold decisions including playing without a renowned left-back. 

Despite having both Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw, it was Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker who started on the flanks. 

In midfield, Southgate went for Leeds man Kavin Phillips, and despite scoring, many questioned Sterling's inclusion ahead of Jack Grealish. 

England had a good start and almost took the lead in the seventh minute when Phil Foden expertly controlled a neat clever pass on the edge of the penalty area, but his effort rattled the left post.

The Three Lions attacked again in the ninth minute, with Phillips unleashing a thunderous shot from just outside the box, but Livakovic made a good low save. 

Sterling and Mason Mount combined well in the 20th minute, but the ball was cleared as the former tried to get to the end of a beautiful cross. 

Croatia's first effort fell to Ivan Perisic just before the half-hour mark, but the winger's effort went wide. 

England's temp dropped as the first-half wore on, and there was little to write home about as both sides went into the break with the scores still 0-0. 

England started the second period as they did with the first, with Mount, Foden, and Sterling running the rings. 

The moment finally arrived in the 57th minute after Phillips did some good work from midfield, dinking past a number of players before finally sliding Sterling in.

The forward took a few strides before striking, with a sliding Vrsaljko unable to keep him out for the lead. 

Harry Kane then came closest to grabbing a second for Southgate's men in the 62nd minute after latching on to a superb Mount ball from the left, but Caleta-Car made a superb block to smuggle the ball behind with Kane colliding with the post. 

Both Modric and Kovacic came close for the visitors, but could not find the target as England held on to finally win the match. 

It was England's first-ever opening match victory in European competitions against the Croats, who had never lost such a game in their history. 

They now lead Group D, with their next match against Scotland, on Friday, 18, June. 

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