Wembley Stadium couldn’t have asked for more as England defeated Croatia 1 – 0 to kickstart their Euro 2020 campaign. Raheem Sterling‘s strike in the 57th minute proved to be decisive as Three Lions registered a comprehensive win against the lacklustre Croatian side. Here are the six talking points.
Sterling proves his doubters wrong
Sterling maintained his perfect record with Three Lions as he scored the winning goal. There was criticism regarding his inclusion in the starting line – as he was coming off a lacklustre season at Manchester City – but the 26-year-old proved the critics wrong by showing that he is still the lucky charm for Three Lions. A gentle reminder that Sterling has bagged 13 goals and 6 assists in his last 17 games.
Phillips put on an impressive display on their Euro debut
Kalvin Phillips did beat the likes of Jack Grealish and Jordan Henderson to make it to the starting eleven. However, it turned out as a dream debut in the European Championship debut as the Leeds United midfielder put on a stellar show. The 25-year-old was promising both offensively and defensively while he also provided the assist for Sterling.
Modric let down by his teammates.
Luka Modric continues to be the heartbeat of the Croatian national team even at 35 years of age. However, his dynamic display was once again marred by the team’s collective performance. In fact, there wasn’t any standout player other than the Real Marid star today.
Croatia’s stale attack
In a team filled with Ante Rebic, Ivan Perisic – who were influential in the 2018 World Cup campaign, everyone would have expected an excellent attacking performance. Still, as it turned, the Croatian attackers hardly made their presence felt against the Three Lions. There were bouts of the impressive passage of play, but Croatia lacked the end product due to a fruitless attack.
A forgetful day for Harry Kane
The only thing Harry Kane can be happy about is that his side ended up victorious. The Tottenham striker hardly contributed to the Three Lions, as he endured a forgetful day at the office. There are huge expectations about Kane competing, but whether he can pull back after today’s shaky start remains to be seen.
Southgate’s selections proved right.
Gareth Southgate left out the likes of Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson to hand starts for Sterling and Phillips. But as it turned out, Southgate’s selection proved right as both the stars involved in today’s only goal. Furthermore, the Three Lions’ high pressing tactics stifled Croatia.