After a hard-fought game, England emerged victorious over Croatia with a modest advantage during the Euro 2020 opening match.
Gareth Southgate’s England had a tough first test against Croatia during the Euro 2020 opening match this Sunday. After a leveled first half with no goals, the Three Lions’ manager decided to move his pieces inside the pitch. Initially, England came out with Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane on the attack. He also used a combination of veteran players with some new blood that gave them more depth.
Youngsters like Kalvin Phillips and Mason Mount dominated the outcome of the game through their ball control. One would think Luka Modric could control the ball in midfield but Ivan Rakitic’s absence was too evident. The key moment of the match came during the second half but it came from the most unexpected source. A man who wasn’t playing well in the past couple of months finally appeared in the most important moment for England.
Southgate’s decision to keep Raheem Sterling.
Out of all the attacking players England had to start the game, Raheem Sterling was the least favorite of the bunch. He hasn’t been at his usual level of performance in recent months for club or country. Other stars such as Jack Grealish or Jadon Sancho are considered better players right now. But Gareth Southgate somehow had a feeling that leaving Sterling on the pitch was a good idea.
After Getting a brilliant assist from Kalvin Phillips in the second half, the Manchester City star scored the only goal of the match. Harry Kane was dangerously close to scoring the second but Sterling’s effort was the only one that counted. With this narrow advantage, England managed to get the first three points from one of the most difficult opponents inside their group. Up next, Croatia play against the Czech Republic and England meets Scotland next Friday.