England vs Croatia Summary: 06/13/2021
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England got their EURO 2020 campaign off to an excellent start as they overcame a solid if unspectacular Croatia team at Wembley with Raheem Sterling scoring the only goal of the game.
The home side made a fast start in hot conditions and it was Phil Foden who fired a warning shot to Croatia early on as he cut in from the right and curled a lovely effort against the far post.
Zlatko Dalić’s men eventually got themselves into the game and started enjoying a bit more possession with influential skipper Luka Modric pulling the strings in midfield. They were trying to slow the tempo of this youthful England side down after looking like they may be overwhelmed early on.
Gareth Southgate surprised many with his line-up and tactics as Kieron Trippier was selected at left-back in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but his decisions paid off. Whilst Croatia grew into the game as the first half wore on, it was England who had the edge and looked the more dangerous.
Despite going into the half-time break level, Southgate will have had plenty of positive words to say to his men at the interval and his faith in them paid off in the second half.
With Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips pulling the strings in midfield with a masterful performance, it was fitting that he made the run and played the perfectly weighted pass to put Sterling clean through on goal. Despite pressure from the oncoming defender, Sterling fired home to send the restricted attendance at Wembley into raptures.
With that goal coming just before the hour mark, there was a sense that Croatia would raise their game and commit more players forward in search of an equaliser. That never really came however, as England professionally saw the match through to seal the points.
Their next Group D fixture comes on Friday night at Wembley once again as they face the Auld Enemy in Scotland. After coming through the toughest game on paper against Croatia with all three points, Southgate and his team will be confident of picking up back-to-back victories against their British rivals.