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Sport IAN LADYMAN: Win over Croatia released the pressure valve for England

21:18  13 june  2021
21:18  13 june  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

IAN LADYMAN: England must be street smart even without senior figures

  IAN LADYMAN: England must be street smart even without senior figures IAN LADYMAN: Gareth Southgate's England will certainly look different from what we once thought when his team line up against Croatia for game one of the Euros at Wembley on June 13. © Provided by Daily Mail ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire will not play against Croatia. That is now an accepted truth. Can we expect to see either player in the group stages? Both face a stiff challenge to do so, though Henderson could feature in Saturday's friendly to gain fitness.

English football manager Gareth Southgate's post-match press conference following England 's victory over Croatia at the Euros. Southgate paid tribute to Raheem Sterling after the winger's first goal at a major tournament.

From that point of view, this was a perfect start for England and the scenes immediately after the final whistle pointed directly to that. On the touchline Gareth Southgate and his assistant Steve Holland embraced as though they had just won the final. Soon after, England ’s players – weary on a blisteringly hot day – gathered to wave at their families seated with a perfect view of where Raheem Sterling had scored his winning goal. It all looked and felt a little as though a huge pressure valve had just been released and that was entirely appropriate.

Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier are posing for a picture: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

The first game of a big summer tournament is one of those occasions when you look at the score line first and work backwards from there.

From that point of view, this was a perfect start for England and the scenes immediately after the final whistle pointed directly to that.

On the touchline Gareth Southgate and his assistant Steve Holland embraced as though they had just won the final. Soon after, England’s players – weary on a blisteringly hot day – gathered to wave at their families seated with a perfect view of where Raheem Sterling had scored his winning goal.

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  Croatia 'will NOT take a knee at Wembley in Euro opener vs England' Gareth Southgate's men have vowed to carry out the gesture in their continued stance against racism before every game at the tournament despite boos from fans in their last two games.Gareth Southgate's men have vowed to carry out the gesture in their continued stance against racism before every game at the tournament this summer despite boos from fans in their previous two games against Austria and Romania.

. Against Croatia at Wembley, Gareth Southgate ultimately got the job done and took the points. Share. Kieran Trippier – perhaps as surprised as the rest of us to be chosen at left-back – looked up in to the stands and puffed out his cheeks. Kyle Walker blew kisses up to his children while Mason Mount and Declan Rice – best friends for so long – stood with arms round each other as though they had just realised the sheer scale of the adventure that now stretches out before them in this It all looked and felt a little as though a huge pressure valve had just been released and that was entirely appropriate.

dailymail.co.uk - Ian Ladyman • 85d. The first game of a big summer tournament is one of those occasions when you look at the score line first and work backwards from there.

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Kieran Trippier – perhaps as surprised as the rest of us to be chosen at left-back – looked up in to the stands and puffed out his cheeks.

Kyle Walker blew kisses up to his children while Mason Mount and Declan Rice – best friends for so long – stood with arms round each other as though they had just realised the sheer scale of the adventure that now stretches out before them in this competition.

It all looked and felt a little as though a huge pressure valve had just been released and that was entirely appropriate. This victory means so much, not just in terms of the three group points but also regarding the mood of this England squad ahead of Friday’s game here against Scotland.

That was always going to be a huge fixture but already it feels different. England have a security blanket already, one that they didn’t have, for example, when they faced the Scots in game two of their Euro 96 campaign.

Chris Sutton's form guide ahead of England v Croatia

  Chris Sutton's form guide ahead of England v Croatia CHRIS SUTTON: While England have arguably one of the most talented squads they have taken to a major tournament, Croatia are far from also-rans. Sportsmail columnist Chris Sutton names both his England and Croatia teams ahead of the match and ranks the players on their recent form. England JORDAN PICKFORD - 7/10Made mistakes for Everton, ended Virgil van Dijk’s season with a wild lunge but not done much wrong for England, so he’s No 1.KYLE WALKER - 8Just completed his best season in a Manchester City shirt and, of all the right back options, he should be starting. Rapid and safe.

IAN LADYMAN : Win over Croatia released the pressure valve for England the Three Lions will take Luke Shaw AND Ben Chilwell miss out on a starting place with Kieran Trippier picked at left back for England v Croatia with Jack Grealish also dropped for Raheem Sterling for Euro 2020 opener. England fans obey Gareth Southgate and the FA's pleas to respect players taking the knee with cheers drowning out the boos at Wembley ahead of opening Euro 2020 match against Croatia .

IAN LADYMAN : Across Europe they may scoff. They may wonder why Gareth Southgate's players did a little lap of honour around Wembley at full-time. But why could anybody understand? Why would anyone want to do that? Europe may scoff at England 's wild celebrations after victory over Germany but Gareth Southgate's side have broken a painful spell in a magnitude of an achievement.

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Twenty-five years ago England drew 1-1 with Switzerland in their first game here with a bits and pieces performance that was actually not so different to this one. As such it took Paul Gascoigne’s famous goal against Scotland in game two to ignite their tournament. Up until that moment, that game had jeopardy written all over it.

This time it need not be that way. Friday night will still be fractious and feisty and maybe not terribly pretty. At least if the Scots have their way. But the difference is that England’s tournament fuse has already been lit by Sterling’s goal and it was one that arrived with perfect timing in more ways than one.

The through ball from Kalvin Phillips – who was outstanding on the day – was timed beautifully and so was Sterling’s scurrying dart in to space.


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More widely, the goal arrived at the perfect stage of the game. England had started the afternoon superbly, threatening to run a leaden Croatia team off the park with the tempo and energy of their football. Sterling and Phil Foden managed to isolate defenders as Southgate would have hoped and spaces opened on the back of that.

England 1-0 Croatia: Raheem Sterling nets winner to earn win

  England 1-0 Croatia: Raheem Sterling nets winner to earn win MARTIN SAMUEL AT WEMBLEY: Raheem Sterling justified Gareth Southgate's shock decision to pick him in England's Euro 2020 opener by netting the winner.Each first was of true significance, too. This is a finals group that could have unfolded rather uncomfortably had England dropped points yesterday, not least with a grudge match against Scotland up next. For Sterling, his place has been under pressure from people’s choice Jack Grealish, among others, of late, so to take the match-winning goal with such bravery and confidence was a huge vindication of his selection.

‘FIFpro understands that faced by the pressures of such an important international stage, many players would react in this way. There are times, however, when the players also require greater protection against the prospect of making any rash decisions.’ Pereira later apologised for refusing to leave the field after ‘the lights went out’ following the accidental clash but the incident again highlights the problem contact sports face in dealing with what has been termed a ‘global concussion IAN LADYMAN : Win over Croatia released the pressure valve for England the Three Lions will take

Oleg Blokhin was busy claiming all the pressure is on England when he exploded with rage himself. It was one question too many about the fitness of Andriy Shevchenko which tipped the Ukraine manager over the edge. A draw would be enough for England to clinch a place in the last eight but Blokhin’s team must win to avoid the fate of co-hosts Poland, who went out after the group stage. Furious: Blokhin blew his fuse at the press conference. Ukraine have never won in six games they have played in Donetsk but Blokhin said: ‘We can lose in every stadium.

But as we approached the hour, the whole feeling of the game had changed.

England had been unable to maintain that aggressive opening and had started to allow Croatia to control the rhythm. Luka Modric, still Croatia’s most dangerous player at 35, was fouled twice by desperate English tackles in the early stages of the second half and that seemed indicative of the direction the game was heading.

It had all become rather slow and that was never going to suit Southgate’s players. On the side lines, his substitutes were readying. Time for Jack Grealish or Marcus Rashford perhaps.

So the goal was important in that it changed all of that. Suddenly it was Croatia who had to push and play with eagerness, to take chances. That does not come naturally to an ageing team and England saw the final 20 minutes or so of the game out without much alarm.

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England will have to be better than this as the tournament progresses. They cannot concede possession in the middle third as easily as they did at times here. They will have to find a way to build a more reliable platform on which players such as Sterling, Mason Mount and Foden can work.

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  Sterling strikes to give England revenge at Euros Raheem Sterling grew up in the shadow of Wembley Stadium. Now he's scored a vital goal for his country at the venue.Now playing for his country at the iconic venue, he used his right foot to give England the start it had been longing for at the European Championship.

But that is for another day. England will ultimately take confidence from this, both collectively and individually.

This was a huge day for Sterling as he scored his first major tournament goal so close to where he grew up. The Manchester City player had not played an awful lot of club football before the Euros began but was bright.

Aston Villa’s Grealish was England’s stand out attacking player during their two warm up games but feasibly may reach full-time this Friday without having kicked a ball. That is how football can be at times like this. That is how suddenly things can change.

Phillips was fabulous in the heart of Southgate’s midfield while Tyrone Mings, so poor against Austria and Romania, managed to find something much better. He will play alongside John Stones again against Scotland while we await Harry Maguire’s return to proper fitness.

a group of baseball players playing a football game: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

It was a toil in the heat at times. England will not be disappointed that their next two games take place in the evening. Equally, there will be no escaping it in Qatar’s World Cup in 18 months’ time.

But since when were opening tournament games supposed to be easy anyway? These occasions are supposed to test your mettle and this one did.

It was heartening at half-time, with the game poised, to look at the England bench and see such quality. That will doubtless become important the longer we move through this tournament.

For now England can take a breath. As supper time approached and the mowers emerged to work on a Wembley surface by now half covered by shade, the big scoreboards at either end still read England 1 Croatia 0. That is really all that mattered.

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