England kick off their Euro 2020 tournament with victory over Croatia

Gareth Southgate's men defeated a toothless Croatia side and kept a clean sheet in the process...

Raheem Sterling ensured England won an opening group game at the Euros for the first time in front of 22,500 fans at Wembley Stadium.

The Manchester City ace, who was selected ahead of Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford, slotted home a superb pass from Kalvin Phillips to score the only goal of the game against Croatia.

His City teammate Phil Foden came close to breaking the deadlock in the first-half only for the post to deny him.

While it was hardly the most exciting game, it was an important victory for an England side which got knocked out by Croatia in the World Cup semi-final three years ago.

England have now won both opening games in a major tournament under Gareth Southgate - the other being a 2-1 victory over Tunisia at the 2018 World Cup.

You can read the full match report on our sister site Football365 here.

What they said

"It's a great feeling. It was the first game and we needed a win," said Sterling. We stuck together. We headed the ball when we needed to, cleared it when we needed to and played some good football at times. I thought the boys were brilliant.

"To be honest, I always said to myself if I come here, growing up two minutes down the road, I know I have to score here. It was a great feeling to actually do it.

"We need to try to build on it and enjoy today. We have to focus. It's early days. We need to keep winning, have that winning mentality and keep going forward."

"It's lovely to have given our fans and our country a really enjoyable afternoon," Southgate said. "The players dealt with the big occasion really well. Right from the start, incredible heat, they played well and settled early in the game.

"There were moments where the tempo dropped because of the heat but the majority of the game we were in control and didn't give Croatia many opportunities and we looked dangerous.

"Kalvin Phillips is a player who is so understated. He has had a fantastic start to his international career. I thought he was immense throughout the game - as they all were - and I'm so pleased for Raheem.

"He was dangerous all game His goalscoring record suggests we should have faith in him and I think he was motivated t show that.

"We are going to need all those attacking players through the tournament. We can make changes and we will need to. The key was to get pressure on Croatia's midfield players and we managed to do that.

"That limited some of the supply and the defenders dealt with the longer balls well and read the game well. It was a day when everybody who got onto the pitch performed well and that was set up by the whole group."

Stat of the day

According to OptaJoe, Croatia have lost against the eventual winner in three of their last four major tournaments (World Cup and European Championships) - Spain at Euro 2012 (group stages), Portugal at Euro 2016 (round of 16) and France at World Cup 2018 (final).

Does this mean it's coming home?

What is next for England and Croatia?

In a standout fixture of Group D, England take on Steve Clarke's Scotland in a tasty encounter at Wembley Stadium on Friday at 8pm BST.

The last time the two sides met at a major tournament was 25 years ago at Euro 96. England earned a famous 4-1 win, which included an iconic goal from Paul Gascoigne.

Terry Venables' side would make the semi-finals before being eliminated in a heart-breaking penalty shootout to Germany.

The England-Scotland rivalry is not as one-sided as most think. In the 114 meetings, England have 48 wins to Scotland's 41, with 25 draws.

Meanwhile, Croatia will take on Czech Republic on Friday at 5pm BST. The two teams previously met in the group stage at Euro 2016 and it ended 2-2. An 89th minute penalty from Tomas Necid salvaged a point for Czech Republic.

Before either of those games, Scotland will begin their European Championships against Czech Republic tomorrow afternoon in Glasgow.