This is a British job. It was not a great win, and there were areas where Gareth Southgate’s team needed significant improvement to penetrate deeper into the euro, but a 1-0 victory over the World Cup finalists cannot be ruled out. This is the first time England has won their first match in the European Championship.
Of course, Croatia still has many things to worry about. Since defeating England in the World Cup semi-finals, they have lost four players, and efforts to bring in young talents have not progressed smoothly. Until the last 20 minutes or so, when the England team, which they usually do with Southgate, fell into a terrible abyss, the Croatian squad seemed slow and lacking inspiration. It’s still early, but this is becoming a theme of this tournament-Western European teams look faster and sharper than Eastern European teams.
England’s first problem is off the pitch. Again, an England fan was furious at the players’ kneeling, but this time, unlike the two pre-tournament games, they immediately laughed. Wembley Summit also supports Croatian songs. This is far from the pleasant 1996 applause when the euro hit the UK.
In England, the only real surprise is the inclusion of Kieran Trippier (more naturally a right-back) into the left-back. With Harry Maguire missing at least in the third game of the group stage and Tyrone Mins, who looked shaky in the first two friendly matches, replaced him as the left-wing of the two central defenders, perhaps one is more natural. Defensive player. Then Luke Shaw or Ben Chilwell, but Trippier tends to look inward with his right foot, making it harder for him to overlap, which has a ripple effect on Raheem Sterling.
Sterling is the obvious choice, but I can’t deny it. He gets along well with Harry Kane but hasn’t been doing well for the past few months. He sometimes threatens to destabilize Croatia’s defenses, as in the World Cup semi-finals, but his sporadic risks and isolation have exacerbated his tendency to defy his natural inclinations.
But when the opportunity appeared after 57 minutes, Sterling almost seized it. Calvin Phillips was England’s best player of the day. First, he used Kyle Walker’s direct pass to shoot darts diagonally from the deep. After beating a defender, he slipped for a second and then fed to Sterling, whose blow came from Dominique Lovakovic, his first goal in a major. Then, after 17 minutes, an excellent left-foot volley was awkwardly deflected.
England started the game very positively. Looks more aggressive than Croatia. Foden hit the post on the right, and after a corner, Phillips clumsily parried the ball from Robakovich. However, when the breakout didn’t happen, and the first adrenaline rush came three years ago, England got a little nervous in the € 96 opening kick-off and the World Cup semi-finals. not that important. The pace slowed down, and many matches were played against the Croatian midfielder, in which Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic were gaining influence.
There are two other areas of contention in the choice. First, Min himself is strong enough, although there is almost no pressure from toothless Croatia. Then there is Phil Foden, who is more popular than the popular choice Jack Grealish. However, his performance on the right has never been as effective as on the left, and his participation was intermittent before being replaced by Marcus Rashford.