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Gareth Southgate hails "positive step" as England beat Croatia

Gareth Southgate hails
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Raheem Sterling's first tournament goal was enough to secure a 1-0 win against Croatia in sweltering conditions at Wembley.

Gareth Southgate was delighted to lead England to victory in their opening match at a European Championship for the first time – but quickly turned his attentions to Friday's clash with Scotland.

Three years on from the heartbreaking World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia, the Three Lions exacted some sort of revenge by giving Zlatko Dalic's men a bloody nose at the start of Euro 2020.

Raheem Sterling's first tournament goal – and England's first at Wembley in front of fans since November 2019 – was enough to secure a 1-0 win in sweltering conditions.

Raheem Sterling, left, scored England's winner with his first tournament goal
Raheem Sterling, left, scored England's winner with his first tournament goal (Martin Rickett/PA)

It was an ideal start to Group D but Southgate knows the challenges continue, with Scotland next up at Wembley on Friday night.

"This is the big challenge for us now because of course we're delighted with the win and the players are happy," the former defender said.

"It's a positive step in terms of qualification, but one of the hardest things in sport is to come back to that point you were at before the kick-off for the next game.

"You can get a bit of a glow of the win and a bit soft, a bit puddingy when you poke your finger in the belly.

"We've got to make sure that we're ready for what is going to be an incredible game against Scotland and a huge challenge.

"We should enjoy tonight because I think you have to enjoy your wins, especially in tournaments, but focus now.

"Our first objective is qualification. We haven't done that yet and we have a very important game for us and our fans on Friday night."

Sterling's goal was enough for England to get their campaign started with a victory and Southgate was pleased to send the fans home happy.

"It feels great to have been able to send the fans home happy and to have fans up and down the country happy," the England manager said. "That's very special.

"In terms of the game, I was really pleased with the way we settled so quickly.

"Some young players, some inexperienced international players, a big occasion – not only a tough opponent but a big occasion, a sweltering hot day.

"Every reason to potentially look nervous at the start but they didn't.

"With and without the ball they were composed, carried out what we wanted to do in terms of pressing brilliantly."

England are in the driving seat in Group D, but Southgate knows complacency cannot be allowed to creep in before they face Scotland on Friday.

England turn their attention to Scotland on Friday after defeating Croatia
England turn their attention to Scotland on Friday after defeating Croatia (Martin Rickett/PA)

England will return to Wembley to take on Scotland after a few days of excited chatter and growing expectation.

"I think the pressure is what we decide it to be," Southgate said. "We've talked about this as a group.

"We have opportunities to be first to do things. I didn't realise today was our first win in an opening game, so that's something they've managed to achieve that no other team has done."

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A general shot of a Premier League football ahead of the Premier League clash between Everton and West Ham United at Goodison Park on October 30, 2016
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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