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Five talking points from England's victory over Croatia

Five talking points from England's victory over Croatia
© Reuters
The result marked the first time the Three Lions had won their first match at a European Championship.

Raheem Sterling's second-half goal assured England of victory over Croatia in their Euro 2020 Group D opener.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the major issues of note following Sunday's 1-0 success at Wembley.

England finally start Euros with a bang

Britain England Croatia Euro 2020 Soccer
The result marked the first time England had ever won their European Championship opener (Glyn Kirk/AP)

This was England's 10th opening match at a European Championship and the first time they have managed to win.

They previous drew five and lost four but, courtesy of Sterling's goal, the Three Lions started Euro 2020 with three points.

Given the rankings of the other nations in Group D, this should be England's toughest test and to come out of it with the victory will give manager Gareth Southgate and his players hope moving forward.

Sterling's goal-den

England v Croatia – UEFA Euro 2020 – Group D – Wembley Stadium
Raheem Sterling was England's match-winner at Wembley (Martin Rickett/PA)

On an afternoon of firsts, Sterling's goal was his first at a major tournament finals in what was his 13th appearance across World Cup and European Championship games.

The Manchester City forward has been in fine form for England in recent times but endured a difficult end to the season.

Southgate kept faith in the 26-year-old despite an array of attacking options and saw that repaid in the 57th minute when he scored the only goal of the contest.

Knee still getting jeered

England v Croatia – UEFA Euro 2020 – Group D – Wembley Stadium
A minority of fans booed as England players took the knee before kick-off (Martin Rickett/PA)

It was not all joy and light for England as the taking of the knee before kick-off was once again booed by a minority of fans inside Wembley.

Southgate and his players have committed to continuing the anti-racism gesture despite some supporters jeering their stance.

Unlike the two warm-up games last week, however, the groundswell of applause and cheering for the knee was far more prominent.

Phillips marches on

Having only made his England and Premier League debuts last year, Leeds' Kalvin Phillips impressed enough to earn a place in midfield for the Euro 2020 opener.

Not only that but he was arguably the best player on the pitch, setting up Sterling's goal and hardly putting a foot wrong to outshine the likes of Luka Modric and Phil Foden.

With Jordan Henderson's fitness still a concern, the form of Phillips could be key for England in the coming games.

Teenage kicks

Britain England Croatia Euro 2020 Soccer
Jude Bellingham became the youngest player at a European Championship (Justin Tallis/AP)

Jude Bellingham may have only made an eight-minute cameo towards the end of the game but in doing so he made European Championship history.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder, who does not turn 18 until June 29, replaced captain Harry Kane late on and in doing so became the youngest player to ever feature in the competition.

With the game finely poised, it shows just how much trust Southgate has in the teenager.

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England manager Gareth Southgate applauds fans after the match on June 6, 2021
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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