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Euro 2020 | Sterling scores winner as England defeat Croatia at Wembley

Raheem Sterling scored the only goal of the game as England defeated Croatia 1-0 in their opening Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley.

The Manchester City midfielder's deflected effort from 10 yards in the 57th minute proved to be the winner as Gareth Southgate's hosts overcame the nation who beat them in the 2018 World Cup semi-final.

The 1-0 victory in the English capital also marks the Three Lions' first ever win in an opening European Championship match.

Southgate's team selection yielded a number of surprises, with Kieran Trippier preferred to Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw at left back. Trippier joined right back Kyle Walker and centre backs John Stones and Tyrone Mings in defence, with Jordan Pickford getting the nod between the posts.

Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips started in the middle, with Foden, Mason Mount and Sterling supporting captain Harry Kane in attack.

England made a bright start in the London sunshine in front of 22,500 fans.

Phil Foden was within inches of giving the Three Lions the lead in the fifth minute, cutting inside on the edge of the box and striking the inside of the far post with a low left-footed effort after being picked out by Raheem Sterling.

Three minutes later, Leeds midfielder Phillips forced Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livaković into a good save with a fizzing low volley from 25 yards following an England corner.

Croatia, who struggled to cope with England in the opening quarter, began to gain more possession without truly carving out any significant chances as the half lulled. The sides went in scoreless at half time, with England the better side over the opening 45 minutes.

Luka Modric stung Pickford's palms with a low drive in the 54th minute, but it was Southgate's side who broke the deadlock three minutes later.

Phillips skipped past multiple challenges before sliding the ball through to Sterling inside the box.

Sterling beat Sime Vrsaljko to the ball, stabbing it past Livaković via a possible deflection off Vrsaljko.

Kane almost doubled the hosts' lead soon afterwards, but collided with the post as he attempted to convert Mount's teasing cross.

Ante Rebic fired off target as Croatia struggled go create, before Mount's free kick flew just over the crossbar at the other end.

Southgate replaced Foden with Marcus Rashford, and brought on Jude Bellingham for Kane late on, making 17-year-old Bellingham the youngest player to feature in a European Championship match.

"[We] played really well, [we] settled early in the game," Southgate told BBC afterwards.

"There were moments when the tempo dropped just because of the heat, but for the majority of the game, we were in control, we didn't give them many opportunities and we looked dangerous."

Next up for England in Group D is a meeting with fierce rivals Scotland on Friday night.

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