Euro 2020, Highlights: England 1-0 Croatia: Sterling goal helps England beat Croatia in group opener

Euro 2021: A Raheem Sterling second half goal helped England get all three points in its opening match against Croatia at Wembley.

Raheem Sterling reacts after giving England the lead against Croatia on Sunday.   -  AP

Welcome to Sportstar's coverage of the Euro 2020 Group D match between England and Croatia from the Wembley Stadium in London.

MATCH REPORT: Sterling goal gives England win over Croatia in opener

That 1-0 win created quite a few landmarks for both teams, some memorable, others not quite. Here is a look at them:

● England remain unbeaten in 12 games at Wembley at major tournaments (World Cup & Euros combined), winning eight and drawing four of those matches.

● Croatia have lost eight of their 14 games in all competitions since the start of 2020 (W4 D2); before this, they had lost just eight of their previous 33 matches (W17 D8).

●  England have won seven consecutive matches across all competitions for the first time since March 2015 under Roy Hodgson.

●  Croatia lost their first match of a European Championship tournament for the first time, in their sixth such participation (W4 D1).

●   Raheem Sterling has been directly involved in 19 goals in his last 17 appearances for England (13 goals, six assists). His opener was his first goal at a major international tournament (World Cup & Euros) in his 13 such appearance.

●   England have won all 11 of their internationals in which Raheem Sterling has scored, the best 100% winning rate when scoring of any player in the national side’s history, overtaking Martin Chivers (10/10).

●   Kalvin Phillips was the first England player to assist a goal on his first European Championship appearance since David Beckham assisted two goals against Portugal in 2000. As well as this, at 94% (31/33) his passing accuracy was the best of any England player to complete 90 minutes against Croatia.

●   Aged 17 years and 349 days, Jude Bellingham came on to become the youngest ever player to appear in the European Championship finals for any nation, and youngest English player to play in any major tournament (World Cup & Euros).

●   Aged 19 years and 141 days, Joško Gvardiol became the first ever teenager to feature in a major tournament match (World Cup/EUROs) for Croatia, in what was their 42 fixture at such a competition.

 

 

Well at the end of those 90 minutes, you would have to say England deserved the three points. Right from the opening passage of play, it looked the more confident team, even though Gareth Southgate did go for a cautious starting XI.

After a goalless opening half, the Three Lions went in front, courtesy Raheem Sterling, who slotted the ball at the back of the net via a Kalvin Phillips assist.

Croatia tried its best to get in the equaliser, but struggled to create any concrete chances despite having a number of attackers on the pitch. It will certainly have some pondering to do ahead of its next match.

The next match for Croatia is a home one, as it faces Czech Republic on Friday. England plays on the same day, facing Scotland at home again.

We will see you again for those fixtures. Until then it is goodbye and stay safe.

The referee blows the final and England has beaten Croatia!

CHANGE FOR ENGLAND: Dominic Calvert-Lewin comes on for Raheem Sterling.

4 minutes of added time.

88' Both Bellingham and Vida jump to get possession from a goal kick, but clatter their heads instead. The former has gone out of play for treatment.

85' Croatia gets the free kick for a challenge on Modric by Phillips. The captain delivers the ball in, but none of the Croatian players are able to get something out of it.

CHANGE FOR CROATIA: Palisic on for Kovacic.

CHANGE FOR ENGLAND: Jude Bellingham comes on for Harry Kane.

80' Just 10 minutes of regulation time left on the clock and Croatia has several attackers on the pitch. But the England backline has looked sharp today, so it could be tricky for them.

Another change for Croatia as Bruno Petkovic comes on for Ante Rebic.

John Stones seems to have injured himself and is getting treatment in the middle.

74' England gets the free kick. The ball comes in  and Sterling takes a shot with his left foot that goes well above the goal.

CHANGES: Vlasic on for Brozovic for Croatia and Brekalo comes on for Kramaric. Rashford comes on for Foden for England.

70' Modric puts in a flat corner and Brozovic looks to go for goal on the volley, but is well away from the goal.

66' Brozovic is booked for a ugly challenge on Mount and England has a free kick. Mount takes it and it is marginally over the goal. Good attempt from the midfielder.

65' Good passage for Croatia as it tries to press forward for the equaliser. Rebic takes a shot at goal, but nothing comes out of it.

63' Foden is booked for a challenge on Kramaric.

61' WHAT A CHANCE FOR ENGLAND! A lovely ball in from the left by Mount and Kane gets a contact on it, but is unable to slot it in. Great chance to make it 2-0.

30 MINUTES LEFT FOR CROATIA TO RESPOND!

Kalvin Phillips plays in a lovely pass to the forward, who slots it in with his right-foot into the back of the net.

57' GOALLLLL! Raheem Sterling gives England the lead.

55' Good play from Croatia as Perisic puts in a pass from the left to Modric, who takes a shot with his right-foot that lands in the hands of Pickford.

54' England looks to start something, but unable to make something substantial out of it. Modric is brought down by Phillips.

52' No real moment of excitement from either teams in the early stages of the half.

47' An early challenge by Kalvin Phillips on Kramaric, but not vicious enough for a booking.

The second half is almost upon us. The players are walking back out to the Wembley.

HALF-TIME: No added time played. England had a few bright early moments and openings but it hasn't capitalised on them. Foden came closest to scoring when he struck the post before Phillips' volley was saved. Croatia grew into the game post the 20-minute mark but hasn't threatened Pickford in goal.

45' Perisic is played through inside the box but he can't control the ball in his stride which allows Mings to clear it and win a free-kick as the Croatia forward collides against him.

43' Trippier's free-kick is blocked in the wall by Perisic.

Trippier and Mount standing over the ball... Flashbacks of Trippier's effort against the same opponent in the 2018 World Cup semifinal.

42' A long ball for Sterling to run on to but Caleta-Car handles near the edge of the box. Free-kick awarded and the defender is booked.

41' The English fans urging the players to move forward with some urgency.

39' England with some possession near the centre circle as it struggles to get forward under the Croatia press.

37' Sterling with a darting run from the left through the middle but he can't get a give-and-go with Foden on the edge of the Croatia box.

35' England struggling to get some control in the last 15 minutes or so owning to some sloppy passes. Walker was guilty couple of times with cheap giveaways.

32' Croatia comes forward again through the left side as a cross into the box is cleared by Mings before another cross is intercpeted by Rice.

29' Croatia exerts some control as they circulate the ball in and around the England box. Vrsaljko with another cross in but he can't find his man in the box.

27' Vrsaljko with a good run down the right flank evading challenges before hooking in a cross into the box where Rebic fires it over the bar.

26' Sterling goes for a shot from distance but his effort is out of bounds.

24' Modric looks to advance forward after a neat inter-play but goes down under the challenge of Mings outside the box but the referee says no foul.

22' 64 per cent ball possession for England so far but it remains goalless.

19' Mount intercepts the pass inside Croatia's pass as England gets back on the attack. England moves the ball around before Mount finds Sterling's run inside the Croatia box but he can't find his teammates at the far post.

17' Ball clipped over the top for Kane, but he is flagged offside by the assistant.

 

16' Good work from Phillips again to win the ball outside Croatia's box before he is bundled over. Freekick from 30 yards out.

15' England dominating the possession and chances in the early proceedings.

11' Foden released down he right and his tee up for Mount at the edge of the box is a touch too strong and an opportunity is gone.

10' Phillips under pressure from two Croatia players in the middle of the park but he holds strong and recirculates possession.

8' A corner kick bounces high near the edge of the box, where Phillips fires a volley at Livakovic, who does well to get the ball away from the penalty box.

6' CHANCE! Foden fires in a shot with left-foot, that clatters into the post. First big opportunity for either teams.

5' The Croatian midfield was sounded as the threat for England and it tries to create something, but a crowded English backline prevents it from doing so.

3' England with most of the possession in the opening minutes of this half.

HERE WE GO!

The national anthems are done and we are almost ready for kick-off.

Both teams walk out to the middle. It is a vociferous crowd at Wembley.

20 MINUTES LEFT FOR KICK-OFF!

There has been a lot of talk about England players taking a knee before kick-off and it will do that once again ahead of the Croatia match. Manager Gareth Southgate explained the reason behind the gesture. Read: England's performance at Euros can unite people, says Southgate

Croatia will have fond memories the last time it played England at a major competition, when it won the World Cup semifinal in extra-time.

However, in more recent times, one Croatian has fond memories of breaking an Englishman’s heart and that is Bruno Petkovic, whose club side Dinamo Zagreb beat Harry Kane’s Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League Round of 16 stage.

He speaks about wanting to inflict similar pain here: Croatia’s Petkovic hoping for deja vu against England

Every tournament has dark horses who can churn out surprises and go a long way. Euro 2020 has an entire group of dark horses and that is Group D.

Dominic Richard previews it here: EURO 2020, Group D preview: England & Croatia in a group of dark horses

The Three Lions was dealt a blow well before its tournament opener after defender Trent Alexander-Arnold was ruled out of the competition.

He was replaced in the squad by Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White. Read: White replaces injured Alexander-Arnold in England’s Euro squad

Big news from an England standpoint is the absence of both Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell at the left-back position as Gareth Southgate has opted to go with Kieran Trippier.

As for Croatia, there is no Bruno Petkovic in the starting XI and it looks like Andrej Kramaric would lead the line for them.

Here are the teams for today's match: 

England: Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Tyrone Mings, Kieran Trippier,; Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips; Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling; Harry Kane

Croatia: Dominic Livakovic; Sime Vrsaljko, Domagoj Vida, Duje Caleta-Car, Gvardiol; Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, Luka Modric; Ante Rebic, Andrej Kramaric, Ivan Perisic

A quarter-century on, England opens another continental campaign at its national stadium against the team that prevented Gareth Southgate’s side reaching the World Cup final three years ago. Croatia on Sunday will face a team refreshed since losing 2-1 and denied a shot at adding to its only major title at the 1966 World Cup.

Read the preview here: England seeks elusive opening game win as it takes on Croatia

Squads: 

England: Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion)

Defenders: Ben White (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ben Chilwell, Reece James (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), John Stones, Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid)

Midfielders: Mason Mount (Chelsea), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United)

Forwards: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden (Manchster City) Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal).

Croatia: Goalkeepers: Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Lovre Kalinic (Hajduk Split), Simon Sluga (Luton Town)

Defenders: Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Josip Juranovic (Legia Warsaw), Dejan Lovren (Zenit St Petersburg), Duje Caleta-Car (Olympique Marseille), Borna Barisic (Rangers), Mile Skoric (Osijek), Josko Gvardiol (Dinamo Zagreb), Domagoj Bradaric (Lille).

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Milan Badelj (Genoa), Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea), Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow), Mario Pasalic (Atalanta), Luka Ivanusec (Dinamo Zagreb).

Forwards: Bruno Petkovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Josip Brekalo (Vfl Wolfsburg), Ante Rebic (AC Milan), Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ante Budimir (Osasuna)

Watch UEFA EURO 2020 LIVE on Sony Ten 2 (English) and Sony Ten 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels from June 12.