England v Croatia Euro 2020 Sunday 13th June 2021

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This was England’s first game of the Euros 2020 played a year later due to Covid.   It also took place 24 hours after the traumatic events in Denmark on Saturday evening where Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch and got CPR on him,  but the positive news is he’s stable, awake,  making jokes with team-mates and he’s fine in hospital in Denmark which is good because everyone was fearing the worst.

Anyway to the game in focus which was England v Croatia at Wembley on a sunny, hot Sunday afternoon, live on BBC One.

Could England start their Euros with a win, or would Croatia win just like they did in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals? There were already good wins for Italy and Belgium before this game, could England send a marker out?

After five minutes, there was a fantastic throw by Trippier to Sterling who passed to Foden who cut inside on the left and got it on his left foot, and his shot hit the post, a nearly moment for England.

Three minutes later, another England chance as Phillips had a volley from outside the box which was saved by the keeper.

After 25 minutes, Sterling shot well wide.

Two minutes later, the 1st Croatia half chance and it went to Perisic who had a shot but shot well wide with his right foot.

The last meaningful action of the 1st half was an England freekick in a dangerous area after the Croatia defender handballed a long ball towards Sterling, Trippier took it and hit straight into the wall.

Halftime score:  England 0-0 Croatia

So perhaps as expected it was a tense and tight first half, England had slightly more chances but Pickford in the England goal didn’t have a save to make, and the Croatia keeper had one save to make, who would light the 2nd half up?

After 54 minutes,  Modric’s shot for Croatia from outside the box was saved by Pickford.

1st England goal

Three minutes later, England had liftoff at Euro 2020 as Phillips won the ball back and weaved past a couple of tackles, before passing to Sterling who finished calmly in the corner of the net  for his 1st major tournament goal.

On the hour mark,  good buildup play by England and Mount crossed towards Kane who shot from a couple of yards out and Caleta-Car got his body in the way to divert it away, Kane did clash into the post, but he was OK.

Five minutes later, England won the ball back and Mount ran at the Croatia defence and got fouled for a freekick in a good area, Mount took it and it went just over.

After 70 minutes, a half chance for Croatia as Rebic shot wide.

Four minutes later, Sterling had a chance but he blazed well over the bar.

The last chance of the game went to Croatia as Pasalic had a left footed shot from the edge of the box but it went too high.

Fulltime score:  England 1-0 Croatia

So it was a good solid win for England, not spectacular but in the opening group game of a tournament, not losing is very important.

The man of the match was Leeds’ Kalvin Philllips and England have won their opening game of a European Championship for the 1st time ever in ten attempts.

The other game in this group was played on Monday 14th June and it finished Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic, which means Czech Republic and England are in control of this group.

Some other results so far involving the big teams:

Turkey 0-3 Italy

Belgium 3-0 Russia

Holland 3-2 Ukraine

Spain 0-0 Sweden

Highlights of England’s game are at this link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1p4p5qfU2g

The 2nd game in the group for England is a big one against Scotland at Wembley on Friday 18th June with an 8pm kickoff on ITV1,  can England virtually seal their place in the knockout stage, or will Scotland respond to losing their first game?

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