Raheem Sterling scores as England win Euro 2020 opening match over Croatia at Wembley

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England vs Croatia Euro 2020 live score team news latest updates 2021 - GETTY IMAGES
England vs Croatia Euro 2020 live score team news latest updates 2021 - GETTY IMAGES

There have been so many doubts, debates and disruptions surrounding England going into Euro 2020 that it felt wholly appropriate that one of the players at the centre of it all, Raheem Shaquille Sterling MBE, provided the glorious lift-off.

Two days after receiving his award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his work in campaigning against racism, 364 days after this fixture was originally scheduled, Sterling scored the goal that defeated Croatia in this opening Group D fixture.

Five years ago, Sterling was the scapegoat against Iceland, and he has lost his place at times at Manchester City this season.

But he is an exceptional and proven international player and again showed the strength of character that marks him out.

It was yet more Sterling service for his country by the forward whose place in the starting XI was in question, but he has always retained the full faith of manager Gareth Southgate, who punched the cloying, warm air in celebration.

The relief flooded through Wembley, flooded through the country. The goal came just as a little anxiety was creeping in that Southgate’s side were struggling to break down the wily, Luka Modric-led campaigners who defeated them in the semi-finals of the last World Cup, but ultimately barely laid a glove here.

It was Sterling’s first tournament goal for England and there was a bit of history for Southgate also. It was the first time, at the 10th attempt, that England had won their opening game at a European Championship.

Sterling bundles the ball in after excellent work from Phillips - Getty Images
Sterling bundles the ball in after excellent work from Phillips - Getty Images

They have started many first games well before fading away in bitter disappointment, but even though there was more than half an hour to play following Sterling’s goal, England did not retreat into panic and Croatia did not come close. England have been 1-0 up against the same opponents before without seeing it out, but this time they did.

Southgate even brought on midfielder Jude Bellingham, to replace captain Harry Kane, and, at 17 years and 349 days, he became the youngest player for England in a major finals. That was a huge show of faith and Bellingham repaid it.

Pleasingly, it was a day on which the manager got all the big calls right: starting with Sterling, Kalvin Phillip and with Kieran Trippier at left-back. At centre-back, Tyrone Mings was dominant and had his best game for the Three Lions.

Finally, England are under way after the debate over taking the knee, the booing – and, sadly, there was more before it was drowned out – the concerns over formation, right-back, left-back, Harry Maguire’s ankle and Jordan Henderson’s groin, and Jack Grealish’s place.

It was just as the crowd were chanting for Grealish to come on that England scored, and it was a superbly constructed goal.

The tireless and brave Phillips, who had snapped into tackles, broken forward, passed and pressed well, then did all of that in one incisive movement. The “Yorkshire Pirlo” was magnificent against one of the best midfield trios in world football, with a pass completion rate of 94 per cent and an antenna to sniff out and create danger.

Phillips was tireless and brave in a brilliant display - Getty Images
Phillips was tireless and brave in a brilliant display - Getty Images

Phillips burst forward, riding one challenge, moving infield from the right and holding off another before sliding the ball through to Sterling, who had cleverly run in from the other flank. Sime Vrsaljko came flying in to try to stop him, but the shot was dispatched, just as Sterling was hit, with the ball ricocheting off the hand of goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and into the net. Sterling wheeled away, roaring in delight and pointing to the clear blue sky. What a start and what a contribution from a player born within a goal-kick of this stadium.

England ran more, passed more, had more efforts on goal and more possession, and thoroughly deserved the win that gives them early control of their group, with Scotland and the Czech Republic playing on Monday.

It could, and should, have been more comfortable but what was so satisfying is that while there was anxiety in the stands, there was patience on the pitch. There is still a long way to go in this competition and probably better opponents to face, but it was an encouraging start, and why not enjoy that, especially after such a difficult build-up?

Remarkably, this was the first time this England line-up had started a game together.

It did not look like that. There was almost a fantasy moment, soon after kick-off, when Sterling surged forward from a throw-in and found Phil Foden, who shifted the ball to his left from 16 yards, used Josko Gvardiol as a shield and stroked a curling shot that beat Livakovic but rebounded back off the inside of a post. Then Mason Mount’s deep corner was only headed out to Phillips just outside the penalty area, and his low volley was shovelled out by Livakovic. Would Croatia be overwhelmed?

It looked like the heat, their age, their lack of a threat up front would count against them, but they have experience and they have Modric, and he started to pick pockets of space, pushing up, dropping off and that danger was apparent.

Vrsaljko’s cross, dummied by Ante Rebic, fell to Ivan Perisic, who miscued wildly over the crossbar.

A little air went out of England and the pace slipped, which certainly suited Croatia far more.

Kyle Walker misplaced two passes, Southgate discarded his jacket and brought out a notebook. The crowd quietened, Croatia disrupted play even more with a couple of cautions, and when Walker’s cross went out of play, there were a few murmurs. It was too slow.

But this is about patience. This is about picking your moment and Phillips and Sterling did just that, and suddenly England were ahead and the complexion dramatically changed. Kane hurt himself slamming into a post as he tried to turn the ball home, Sterling blazed wastefully over when teed up by Mings and Southgate huddled with his assistant, Steve Holland, as he discussed permutations and changes. The manager said he would use the bench and he did just that with Bellingham, Marcus Rashford and Dominic Calvert-Lewin introduced but, encouragingly, England did not fall into the old habit of dropping deep and trying to hold on, and, as Modric faded, that was almost as encouraging as the goal, the three points and the celebrations.

How it unfolded in real time:

03:57 PM

England have started with a win

But the tournament waits for no man! North Macedonia and Austria are about to do battle, very much the fixture we'd all got highlighted in the diary. But that's the beauty of a tournament, innit? Might be an absolute cracker. Charles Richardson has our live blog.

Austria vs North Macedonia, Euro 2020 live: score, team news and latest updates from Bucharest

From us on this live blog, thanks for following, and well done England.

03:44 PM

Young man in a hurry

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03:38 PM

Tyrone Mings: an appreciation

Matt Law writes: "The nation had agonised for the past fortnight over whether or not Southgate would trust Mings to start against Croatia and even whether or not he would try to make up for Maguire’s absence by reverting to a back three.

"But it had never been the biggest issue in Southgate’s head and the assured way in which Mings performed at Wembley in his first-ever major tournament appearance justified the England manager’s faith."

Tyrone Mings ends England's defence debate – barking orders, dark arts, no twisting and turning

03:31 PM

Spectator in 'serious' condition

Spectator in 'serious' condition after falling from Wembley stands during England win

03:29 PM

You love to see it

03:28 PM

Telegraph's Jim White on the move

"Found a streaming service and watched most of the second half on my lap top. Intriguingly while the Spanish commentator happily identified most of the England players solely by their surname (Pick-ford, Walk-errr, Stair-leeeng) he always referred to England's midfield maestro as Mason Mount. Never once did he call him just Mount. Very deferential "

03:27 PM

Gary Lineker signs off

"England bank an opening win at last: and Sterling finishes the day up against the Euro."

03:26 PM

Alan Shearer

"Brilliant start, we wanted them to give us something to look forward to and feel good about, and they have done that so roll on the next game."

03:23 PM

Gareth Southgate

"It is lovely to have given our fans and our country an enjoyable afternoon. We played well, settled, the majority of the game we were in control and we looked dangerous.

"Kalvin is so understated. Fantastic start to his international career. I am so pleased for Raheem. He has had a hex in the tournaments so I am so pleased he has got a goal.

"Raheem is a good player and his goalscoring record suggests we should have faith. There were a couple of guys who didn't play today that we will need.

"The key with Croatia is to get pressure on their midfield and we did that. Everybody did their job.

"This is a tough group, different sort of challenges. A good start takes some of the stress out of the prep for the next game."

03:20 PM

Mason Mount

"It was a good game. We were on it from the first whistle. Dominated first 20. Our counter press was something we have worked on.

"Then the sun kicks in, and they had most of the ball. But that will happen with players of their quality.

"I didn't think that the freekick would go in. It got a bit of an 'ooo' but you don't get anything for an 'ooo'.

"We wet up well, when we had the ball we were calm on it."

03:16 PM

Alan Shearer

"When the manager makes a decision and shows faith in a player, then that really makes a difference" - talking about Raheem.

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03:14 PM

Fans enjoying themselves

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03:12 PM

Kalvin Phillips

"Very enjoyable. Really warm, and that took its toll at the end of the game. Obviously it is a nice feeling: that is the first time I have found Raheem with a pass since coming with England! I am a laid back person, regardless of what has been thrown at me I try and take it in my path.

"I love playing with Declan, I love being in a role where I can get forward. I think we really play well together."

03:09 PM

Analysis

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03:07 PM

Tyrone Mings

"A dream come true to play in a major tournament for England. I loved every second. It was probably the hottest game I have played in. It seems a lot more straightforward watching than it does playing. They are top team so we had to repel that threat.

"Kalvin put in a good ball and Raz showed the quality that he has done so many times. And then as a team we wanted a clean sheet. We felt composed. The players that came on gave us a new lease of life."

03:04 PM

Alan Shearer

Any disappointments? "Harry Kane looked a bit slow. Other than Harry everyone looked really sharp."

03:02 PM

A game of few chances, in all honesty

03:01 PM

Frank Lampard

"It would be easy to put down Croatia but they have major players. For me today this game was about England and how they pressed."

02:58 PM

Jamie Carragher's full-time verdict

"There were questions asked of Gareth Southgate about how to approach this game, particularly his front three and the make-up of midfield. The performances of Sterling and Phillips vindicated him. They were the difference in the game, combining for that winning goal.

It has to be said that Croatia looked a shadow of the team we saw in Russia three years ago, but England never looked troubled defensively at any stage. This opening game underlined why Sterling has to play in this team and in this formation as he brings different qualities to Foden and Grealish."

02:57 PM

Raheem Sterling

"I always said if I am play at Wembley in a major tournament I am going to score, and I did! I haven't been scoring for my club and there are lots of reasons for that but that is irrelevant now - I am with England."

"It is great to get off to a win, and now we can look forward to the next game.

"It has been a long season for me."

02:55 PM

Frank Lampard

"They have got a bit of attitude and arrogance, in a good way. With this crowd behind them, they can really do something."

02:54 PM

Alan Shearer

"Plenty to build on. There may be bigger tests to come, but well done."

02:54 PM

England fans

give Gareth Southgate a big hand, and he applauds them back. "Football's coming home," they sing.

02:51 PM

Full time: England 1 Croatia 0

England win their opening fixture! And they did it with some style and some substance.

02:51 PM

90+ mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Nice to see a side reduced to launching it at a big (not not that big) man and getting nowhere, and it not being England. A Croatian shot from miles away, but goes miles over, and that is the lot!

02:49 PM

90+ mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Halfway through the four minutes added, it's played into the England area, Petkovic looks to pressure Pickford but the keeper is there. Easy-oasy.

02:48 PM

90 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Obviously an exciting occasion, but the actual football is quite low-key the last few minutes. England not looking terribly stretched. Croatia a bit short of ideas, energy or both. You could never call England 1-0 up against a proper side in a tournament "comfortable" but this is as close as you could reasonably hope.

02:44 PM

87 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Delay of game as Vydra nuts Bellingham in the back of the head as they go up for the ball.

02:44 PM

86 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

England not under any particular pressure.

Kovacic comes off and Pasalic on

02:42 PM

85 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Croatia launch a freekick into the England box but they make a foul.

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02:41 PM

82 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Bellingham and Phillips gang up to foul Modric. England managing to keep Croatia well clear of the danger area for the time being at least.

02:39 PM

79 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

And Bellingham has just picked the pocket of Modric, no less!

02:38 PM

78 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

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Jude Bellingham comes on, and becomes the youngest player at the European Championships. Replaces H Kane.

02:37 PM

78 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Luka Modric, who tore England apart in the World Cup semi-final in 2018, has been kept relatively quiet so far today  - Reuters
Luka Modric, who tore England apart in the World Cup semi-final in 2018, has been kept relatively quiet so far today - Reuters

02:35 PM

77 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Petkovic, a meaty forward, comes on for Rebic. Croatia looking to play their hand. And it's going to be a direct one by the looks of it.

02:31 PM

74 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

England have a freekick, and Mings does brilliantly to nod that back. It drops for Sterling but he blasts the ball well over. Never looked all that confident.

John Stones is down and getting some treatment...

02:29 PM

72 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Good defending from Kyle Walker. He's got the measure of Perisic there. Pickford gives him an attaboy.

Foden, who has been booked, taken off for Rashford.

02:27 PM

Here is the Raheem strike

England vs Croatia, Euro 2020 live: score and latest updates from Wembley - Getty
England vs Croatia, Euro 2020 live: score and latest updates from Wembley - Getty

02:25 PM

69 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Rebic and Gvardiol with a busy move down the left, they win a corner.

Modric floats it to the back of the box, Brozovic meets the ball crisply enough, but drills it wide.

  • Brozovic is coming off for Vlasic

  • Kramaric substituted for Brekalo

02:24 PM

68 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Marcus Rashford is coming on. Croatia are readying a couple as well.

02:24 PM

66 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Mount gets the freekick up over the wall and curling nicely, but not quite enough dip.

02:22 PM

65 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Brozovic loses the ball and, in his attempts to win it back, he hauls Mount to the turf. Freekick five yards outside the Cro box.

02:21 PM

64 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Ooh danger here. Kovacic drills a shot at goal, it is repelled, Rebic with the follow up but he drags it well wide.

02:20 PM

63 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Phil Foden goes into the book for a nibble at Gvardiol. Bit of a soft yellow.

02:19 PM

61 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

Foden involved, down that left, Mason Mount plays the ball in... Kane at the far post... surely... oh that's a first-rate bit of defending from Caleta-Car. He's just muscled Kane out there. Kane collides with the post and there's some momentary concern, but he is okay.

02:16 PM

59 mins: England 1 Croatia 0

England not resting. They have plenty of the ball, they are playing it around. Phillips again in midfield. Kane comes deep.

02:12 PM

GOAL! England 1 Croatia 0 (Sterling 56)

England have the lead! Brilliant from Kalvin Phillips, he surges forward, he takes men out of the game and he slots a pass through the centre. Raheem Sterling pounces on it and strokes it into the net. Nice cool finish. Kalvin has been England's best player today and it is he who has broken the game open.

02:12 PM

55 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Modric gets a shot in on goal - easy for Pickford.

Ah, England have indentified the man who is going to solve all ills. Yes, it's Jos Buttler. No, wait. It's Jack Grealish. "Grealish! Grealish!" the crowd chant.

02:11 PM

53 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Croatia find a way to keep Sterling quiet  - Reuters
Croatia find a way to keep Sterling quiet - Reuters

Kane nearly plays Sterling through there but they were not quite on the same wavelength.

02:10 PM

52 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

England play if forward, Kane coming deep on the link up, bringing in Foden. England find Croatia well dug in though, and play it back. A few in the crowd get frustrated.

Croatia looking quite assured.

02:06 PM

50 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Trippier lays it back for Pickford with the chest - but leaves well short. Fortunately for England, Pickford spots the danger early and hares out.

02:05 PM

49 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Croatia are looking to rattle England. They harass and press Stones into putting it out for a throw right by the corner flag.

02:04 PM

48 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Kovacic with a shoulder-barge slide tackle megaslam on Mason Mount. The latter is shaken but okay. The former is booked.

02:04 PM

Please join

m'coll Luke Edwards below the line, debating the match and other matters in the comments.

And talking of colleagues, here's Jim White, who writes: "I'm on my way to Sevilla for Spain game and in transit at Madrid Airport desperately trying to find somewhere - anywhere - showing England. Thank goodness for Telegraph live blog...."

Where are you reading from? Let us know below...

02:02 PM

46 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

England under some pressure early on, Mings clears, it rebounds off Perisic and it pops up gently for Pickford.

Only the Phillips shot on target in the first half, plus obviously Foden hitting the post.

England vs Croatia, Euro 2020 live: score and latest updates from Wembley - PA
England vs Croatia, Euro 2020 live: score and latest updates from Wembley - PA

02:01 PM

Players are back out for second half

Still scorchio. Croats kick off.

01:59 PM

Frank Lampard

"Any offers for a new job? Not that I am prepared to tell you about. Obviously none as good as this - because I am here!"

Nice little segment where he explains his pride that Mason Mount and Reece James, for whose development he takes some credit, were so good in the ECL final.

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01:55 PM

Alex Scott on the BBC

"I think the heat played a part. The more it went on the more you could see it (for England). We can exploit Croatia in the channels, their weaknesses are at full back."

01:55 PM

The main man?

Phil Foden was into his stride remarkably quickly, in his major tournament debut  - Getty
Phil Foden was into his stride remarkably quickly, in his major tournament debut - Getty

01:53 PM

Jamie Carragher's half-time verdict

"Excellent start by England, full of intensity. But in these conditions it could never last. Sterling's penetration with runs in behind show Southgate was right to pick him, Mount has also been very bright. Selecting Trippier at left back has hampered England because there is no width at all on the left. The worry at the moment is Kane has been non-existent.

For Croata, Modric has been excellent but England have done well to keep him around the halfway line. They need to be careful as he’s started taking positions up behind our midfield. Substitutions will be important in the second half. Fresh legs from the bench can bring that intensity back as the game goes on."

01:52 PM

Analysis

The England pundits in the studio think England have looked at their best when they hit it direct and look for the transitions, which I personally agree with. If it turns into a tactical/passing battle in midfield then they're second best.

01:46 PM

Half time: England 0 Croatia 0

Excellent start from England, dangerous, bright and fearless. Foden hit the post. But the Croatian side rode it out and it was even steven for the second quarter of the match.

01:45 PM

44 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Croatia with an excellent move, Perisic dancing, excellent firm block tackle from Tyrone Mings.

01:42 PM

42 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

England have a freekick on the edge of the box. Trippier stands over it. He flips his freekick straight into the wall. Hits Perisic on the top of the head.

Sterling with a foul and Croatia regroup.

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01:42 PM

41 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

That is a good move from Croatia. Quick, dangerous interplay. That Perisic is a player. Dart down the left, just cut out. Crowd have gone quiet. But this has woken them up - Sterling breaks, and Caleta-Car has impeded him on the edge of the box.

01:40 PM

40 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Lull. England definitely come off their level. Tiring? Surely not yet.

01:38 PM

What do you think of the show so far?

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01:37 PM

35 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Foden bursts forward, England having some joy in the wide areas, and his run is stopped on the edge of the box.

01:36 PM

Southgate might need to take some action

Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England gives instructions - Getty
Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England gives instructions - Getty

01:35 PM

33 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Walker uses his strength and experience to shut out Gvardiol, who is (of course) nicknamed Pep.

01:33 PM

32 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Dangerous from Perisic. Drives down the left. Crosses. Kalvin P has to look lively to cut out the cross before it reaches Rebic.

01:31 PM

30 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

England put under a bit of pressure at the back and one of their right sided defenders has knocked that out for a throw in

01:29 PM

28 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Yep no question, Croatia are in this now. They're getting Modric on the ball and crucially/worryingly, he is finding spaces from which to deliver some passes.... Warning signs are clear to see....

01:27 PM

26 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

England have come off their level a bit. Croatia having more of a say. Perisic picks it up, and has an effort.

01:26 PM

England

England's Raheem Sterling and Kieran Trippier before kick off - AP
England's Raheem Sterling and Kieran Trippier before kick off - AP

England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Mings, Trippier, Phillips, Rice, Foden, Mount, Sterling, Kane. Subs: Shaw, Grealish, Jordan Henderson, Rashford, Dean Henderson, Coady, Calvert-Lewin, White, Johnstone, James, Saka, Bellingham.

Croatia: Livakovic, Vrsaljko, Vida, Caleta-Car, Gvardiol, Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic, Rebic, Kramaric, Perisic. Subs: Brekalo, Kalinic, Vlasic, Budimir, Pasalic, Skoric, Badelj, Petkovic, Juranovic, Sluga, Bradaric, Ivanusec.

Referee: Daniele Orsato (Montecchio)

01:25 PM

24 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Kovacic gets some time on the ball, gets his head up, and blooters his cross into the stands. Croatia nowhere near their best so far.

01:24 PM

23 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Rare foray forward from Croatia, Modric goes down but the ref is unmoved.

01:23 PM

22 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

First quarter of the match has been all England. Momentary lull these last couple of minutes. Croatia will just be looking to ride this period out...

01:21 PM

20 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

England again, Sterling tries to stand the ball up for Foden but a Croatian defender just nicks in. It was an excellent pass from Mount to find him.

Jenas: "Croatia are all over the place, they cannot cope with England."

01:19 PM

18 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Phillips is busy, pressing and he's lunged in on Brozovic now, winning the ball in a dangerous area and getting his shot away. But the ref says he fouled the Croatian.

Kalvin Phillips was among England's most threatening players in the opening 20 minutes  - PA
Kalvin Phillips was among England's most threatening players in the opening 20 minutes - PA

01:17 PM

16 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

England have a freekick about 38 yards out, central. Trippier floats it in, and Kane.... is offside.

01:15 PM

Raheem in action

England vs Croatia, Euro 2020 live: score and latest updates from Wembley - Pool via AP
England vs Croatia, Euro 2020 live: score and latest updates from Wembley - Pool via AP

01:15 PM

14 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Rice is playing back of midfield, Phillips playing much higher up the pitch. Encouraging. How many England midfield duos have we seen treading on each others toes?

01:14 PM

Time machine

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There is a Euro 96 vs Switzerland tang in the air.. glorious sun..

01:12 PM

11 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Kane brings in Foden, and this is another good attack. But Croatia have men back. An experienced team, they won't be rattled by England's bright young things making a hot start. Still 0-0.

01:11 PM

Good start this from England

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01:09 PM

8 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

That corner not properly cleared, and it drops for Kalvin Phillips - he drives it in from outside the area. Repelled.

England looking dangerous and confident.

01:08 PM

7 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Good from England. Now it's Sterling's turn, nice bit of skill and he dances down the left, tries to get his cross in but is well stopped by a meaty tackle - and England have a corner.

01:06 PM

5 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

First moment for England! Phil Foden drives forward, switches it to his left and hits one - it crashes against the post! That was a good counter from England.

01:05 PM

4 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

Early moment of warning for England as Modric tries to dance through the defence and the ref blows up for an infringement.

01:03 PM

Knee reaction

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01:02 PM

2 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

England getting some early touches of the ball, playing it around at the back, Rice dropping back to give an option.

01:01 PM

1 mins: England 0 Croatia 0

England hit a ball long looking for Kane.

01:00 PM

The players take their positions

for the kick off. The countdown to kick off is on. The players take the knee. Difficult to be certain from the TV, but I would say some boos, but drowned out by cheers.

12:59 PM

Glorious sunny day

Half the Wembley pitch is in shadow.

12:58 PM

Kane leads team out

England vs Croatia, Euro 2020 live: score, team news and latest updates - AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool
England vs Croatia, Euro 2020 live: score, team news and latest updates - AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool

12:57 PM

And now the England anthem

England's players stand with the hands around each other shoulders

12:56 PM

Some whistling of the Croatia anthem

Their players stand with hands on hearts.

12:55 PM

Guy Mowbray and Jermaine Jenas

are the BBC's men behind the mike for this one.

12:54 PM

22,5000

fans are at Wembley. Sounds like a really good atmosphere. "These players have to feed off that," says Ferdinand.

12:52 PM

James Ducker on Phil Foden

this is a great profile, highly recommended.

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12:47 PM

England fans

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12:45 PM

Harry Kane pre-recorded interview

"I think we are in a better place as a team than Russia. We have a mix of youth and experience. Players who have won the biggest trophies."

12:42 PM

Rio Ferdinand on the BBC

"Gareth has been faultless. Obviously taking the knee has been a big issue. He's said we will not be bullied. we will not be told how we are going to combat this type of stuff. And we are not going to allow individuals to mislead the public. They don't want racial discrimination to be a part of it. And they are standing up against it. And they will not be told. The fans should know that the players and the manager have told you multiple times what taking the knee is about and it is not political. So come out and support the boys."

12:40 PM

Gareth Southgate

"We have prepared and focused on the game, we have to focus on the performance and not the noise around us.

With Kieran, very experienced, can stop crosses coming in, good communication with the rest of the back line.

Our front six is the same as the games in March, so we have continuity and understanding. This heat, subs are more important than ever.

We want the support from everyone in here. We know during the game we will get that, before the game that is up to each individual."

12:36 PM

Alex Scott on the right foot left back

"You think about players who are naturally left footed who have had great seasons... but obviously Gareth has seen something."

12:35 PM

Good analysis from the BBC

pundits about Kovacic. Lampard: "he can receive the ball, and he doesn't mind taking the contact. He is very quick for a midfielder: he can carry the ball and take people out of the game."

Rio: "That is a hard player to play against, ball carriers in those areas, in those conditions especially"

Lampard: "I used to tell him, I would hate to play against you. I didn't have his pace and on a hot day he can expose you."

That's the virtue of having analysts who have played within the last few years: I feel like I actually learnt something there. Rather than just some old giffer from the 1970s telling you about getting stuck in.

12:29 PM

No mention on the BBC

coverage as yet of the, er, broader context of England and their fans, which will no doubt be the focus of attention in about 29 minutes.

England vs Croatia Euro 2020 live score team news latest updates 2021 - AFP via Getty Images
England vs Croatia Euro 2020 live score team news latest updates 2021 - AFP via Getty Images

12:26 PM

Modric interview on the BBC

Intense feller, isn't he? Such a joyful, creative player with the ball. Can't say I find him a likeable character when he does media and so on, but there you go. That's not his concern. He does seem to have quite the relish for beating England.

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12:23 PM

Montage of 1996

was predictably stirring stuff, notably the music of the day. Suede vs England Germany semi, intriguing choice Brian.

12:19 PM

The line-ups

12:15 PM

The main man

Gareth Southgate - AFP
Gareth Southgate - AFP

12:12 PM

Jamie Carragher on England XI

"The big question around team selection was the system. Back three or four? With Gareth Southgate going with a back four, Tyrone Mings is quite fortunate to play because a left footer in a back four is not as imperative as when you play three at the back. The inclusion of Kieran Trippier at left back shows how much he is rated by Southgate and how much importance the manager puts on set pieces. Trippier was heavily involved in the success at the 2018 World Cup, which was based a lot on his dead ball deliveries.

The midfield is a worry against a side of Croatia’s experience. Will England outrun them or be left chasing shadows? Despite the clamour, I never believed it was right to play all three of Mason Mount, Phil Foden & Jack Grealish. You need a player who always looks to penetrate in behind the opposition back line so I agree Raheem Sterling is the best man for that role. Harry Kane also needs Sterling. Kane’s game has evolved so that he dropping deeper for possession. It means he doesn’t have the dynamism he once had and it is essential runs are made beyond him."

England vs Croatia, Euro 2020 live: team news and latest updates ahead of England's first Euros game - GETTY IMAGES
England vs Croatia, Euro 2020 live: team news and latest updates ahead of England's first Euros game - GETTY IMAGES

12:11 PM

Opta on England's left-back

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12:10 PM

Telegraph Sport columnist Jamie Carragher

will be giving us his views throughout the game...

12:09 PM

Ferdinand

"This is what the country has been waiting for for 16 months. Come on England."

12:08 PM

Lampard

"There's always hope. Looking at the players, for the first time in a while, we have so many exciting talented players in forward players with different attributes."

12:07 PM

And now... It's Coming Home

A montage of 1996, and 1998, and and and. Uri Geller. The song replayed and cut up again and again It's coming home. Rooney sent off. Steve McClaren. Lampard's shot off the crosssbar. It's coming home Beaten again. It's coming home. Iceland. You get the idea. It's coming home

12:03 PM

Gary Lineker is joined

by Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Alan Shearer.

Gary throws the coverage over to BBC sports correspondent Natalie Pirks for a report about Denmark and Eriksen. Shearer, Lampard and Ferdinand each get a chance to make some kindly and statesmanlike remarks about the player, recovery, the medical team, the relative insignificance of football.

12:01 PM

Glorious day here in North London

incidentally. A pwopah scorcha.

12:00 PM

BBC coverage is beginning

"This year we have faced so many challenges, and we deserve a victory. So from me and everyone at the BBC," says the continuity announcer. "Come on England!"

11:55 AM

And here is the FA statement on booing etc

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11:55 AM

Raheem is back on his home patch

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11:52 AM

It is definitely coming home

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11:52 AM

Croatia side

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11:46 AM

England FA's plea for unity

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11:45 AM

Teams for England vs Croatia

England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Mings, Trippier, Phillips, Rice, Foden, Mount, Sterling, Kane. Subs: Shaw, Grealish, Jordan Henderson, Rashford, Dean Henderson, Coady, Calvert-Lewin, White, Johnstone, James, Saka, Bellingham.

Croatia: Livakovic, Vrsaljko, Vida, Caleta-Car, Gvardiol, Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic, Rebic, Kramaric, Perisic. Subs: Brekalo, Kalinic, Vlasic, Budimir, Pasalic, Skoric, Badelj, Petkovic, Juranovic, Sluga, Bradaric, Ivanusec.

Referee: Daniele Orsato (Montecchio)

11:41 AM

Kieran Trippier

does indeed start at left back, as predicted. Jack Grealish is on the bench.

11:39 AM

England confirmed team

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11:38 AM

Gary Lineker at Wembley

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11:37 AM

Tom Morgan at Wembley

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11:35 AM

Just under 90 minutes

until kick off. Tyers here, thanks for joining us, let's hope we have an exciting match.

11:30 AM

It's handover time

... with Alan Tyers taking over for the match itself.

If you're looking for something to stir your emotions in the meantime, this should do the trick.

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11:25 AM

'Everyone needs to unite and support England'

England fans arriving at sun-drenched Wembley today said they would avoid booing players taking the knee inside the stadium.

Gareth Southgate's appeal for unity and lingering shock in football around Christian Eriksen's collapse were cited as reasons for supporters to "leave their politics behind".

Despite Wembley welcoming just 25 per cent of its capacity due to Covid, the streets around the stadium pre-match were bustling, with England fans of all backgrounds delighted to be back watching football. More than a dozen fans who stopped to talk to Telegraph Sport ruled out scenes similar to the jeers seen at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium for England's warm-up games.

Among the crowds on the famous walkway to the national stadium from Wembley Park tube station was the former England spinner Monty Panesar.

"The fans attending are the die-hards due to numbers so I think this becomes about the football," he said. "This is the time where everyone needs to unite as a nation and and support England. At this stage it's about the performances. I know people will be talking about the knee, but Gareth Southgate has been very strong on it – he clearly believes in the anti-racism gesture. I just hope that there isn't a lot of boos."

Joe Denny, his brother Ben and Stuart Frost, all from Essex and in their 40s, also agreed booing was off the agenda today. Frost said: "Personally I think the gesture has diminished now, and more needs to be done, but this is not the day for it." Joe Denny added: "I definitely won't be booing – I do what Gareth Southgate tells me".

Mark Stafford, 25, from Southwark, said he hoped the traumatic scenes of Eriksen's collapse on Saturday would help shift the mood for football fans. "As a black England fan, I think incidents like that help remind people there are bigger things than football," he said.

"There is racism in football and society which is why players are taking the knee. I think the mood will be different today."

Matt Brown, 33, who was attending the match with his Brazilian girlfriend, said he would stay silent during the gesture. "Whilst I agree with the message, I don't think it's the right platform," he said.

"I don't think the continuation of it is the best thing because it is quite divisive. For me, whilst I support it, I'll be staying silent during that because I think it's time to look at other ways to promote that message." However, he said he would prefer to stay silent rather than boo.

Croatian fans were dramatically outnumbered outside the stadium, but the one group tracked down by Telegraph Sport said their nation was right to avoid taking the knee.

One of the fans, who gave his name only as Marko, said: "I think, from what I've read, that it's appropriate for the UK, but in our culture it's not an issue that's a priority.

"There are other things we are battling with. Either way though, people shouldn't boo."

Tom Morgan

There's a good pre-match atmosphere at Wembley - GETTY IMAGES
There's a good pre-match atmosphere at Wembley - GETTY IMAGES

11:10 AM

A nice day for it

Wembley is bathed in sunshine ahead of kick off. It's set to get up to a toasty 28 degrees today, but at least there's a nice, gentle breeze.

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10:55 AM

Foden promises maximum effort

The Stockport Gazza has a message to share.

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10:45 AM

Stefan Bienkowski on the rise of Jude Bellingham

He may not be in England's starting line-up today, but Jude Bellingham could still have a hugely important part to play at this tournament.

Want the background on his first season in the Bundesliga and how he's made his mark at Borussia Dortmund? Here's Stefan Bienkowski on Bellingham's rapid rise.

Harry Maguire, Jude Bellingham and Tyrone Mings warm up ahead of training - PA
Harry Maguire, Jude Bellingham and Tyrone Mings warm up ahead of training - PA

10:25 AM

What's your favourite England football song?

If you've just found yourself spontaneously shouting "IT'S COMING HOME" then, sadly, you are suffering from Three Lions fever.

There's nothing wrong with Three Lions, it's catchy as hell, though anyone who prefers the 1998 version to the original should be treated with deep suspicion.

That said, the correct answer is obviously World In Motion. As well as being an extremely well crafted pop song that transcends football, it's also impossible to listen to it without having visions of Chris Waddle's mullet in all its glory. Powerful stuff.

Vindaloo is also worth revisiting just for its deeply unsettling music video and enduring weirdness. The less said about Ant and Dec's We're On The Ball the better.

Name a more iconic duo, we'll wait - GETTY IMAGES
Name a more iconic duo, we'll wait - GETTY IMAGES

09:55 AM

England team news

Well, it's a little earlier than expected but we can reveal the England starting line-up.

It looks like Southgate will go with a 4-2-3-1, with Kieran Trippier starting at left-back ahead of Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell. Trippier usually plays on the right side of defence for Atletico Madrid, but he's versatile enough to switch flanks.

Tyrone Mings will partner John Stones in the centre, with Kyle Walker in the hallowed right-back spot.

In front of them, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips will be tasked with charging about, intercepting and harrying in the deep midfield.

Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling will form an attacking trident, with Harry Kane up top.

England starting XI: Pickford; Walker, Mings, Stones, Trippier; Rice, Phillips; Foden, Mount, Sterling; Kane

Kieran Trippier looks to get forwards during England's warm-up friendly against Austria - SHUTTERSTOCK
Kieran Trippier looks to get forwards during England's warm-up friendly against Austria - SHUTTERSTOCK

09:15 AM

Latest update on Christian Eriksen

Amid the build-up to today's games, Christian Eriksen's wellbeing is still front and centre of everyone's mind.

Eriksen collapsed late in the first half of Denmark's game against Finland in Group B and required urgent medical attention on the pitch, including CPR. His Denmark teammates formed a wall around him to protect him and the medical staff attending him, with television cameras still filming.

After roughly 10 minutes of treatment, Eriksen was carried off the field on a stretcher. Photos showed that he was conscious and responsive, with a Reuters photographer reporting that he had raised his hand.

Soon afterwards, the Danish Football Association announced that Eriksen was awake and undergoing further examinations at the nearby Rigshospitalet. The match was eventually resumed, with Denmark losing 1-0.

In their latest update, the DBU have said: "This morning we have spoken to Christian Eriksen, who has sent his greetings to his teammates. His condition is stable, and he continues to be hospitalised for further examination.

"The team and the staff of the national team has received crisis assistance and will continue to be there for each other after yesterday's incident.

"We would like to thank everyone for the heartfelt greetings to Christian Eriksen from fans, players, the Royal Families from both Denmark and England, international associations, clubs etc.

"We encourage everyone to send their greetings to the Danish FA, where we will make sure they are all passed on to Christian and his family."

Christian Eriksen in action before his collapse - SHUTTERSTOCK
Christian Eriksen in action before his collapse - SHUTTERSTOCK

08:30 AM

Sam Wallace's verdict on the England squad

Want a rundown of what each and every England player will bring to Euro 2020?

Well, you're in luck, because our chief football writer Sam Wallace has the inside track on all 26 of them. His player-by-player verdict can be found here.

England players in training at St George's Park - GETTY IMAGES
England players in training at St George's Park - GETTY IMAGES

08:20 AM

England fans urged not to boo players for taking the knee

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07:44 AM

Arrogance may undo England, claims Luka Modric

Luka Modric has claimed English "arrogance" could be the biggest threat to Gareth Southgate’s side at Euro 2020, writes Luke Edwards.

Croatia's talisman said England are deservedly being talked about as potential tournament winners ahead of the sides' opening group match on Sunday.

But the trait which Modric said was England's undoing three years ago – when Croatia beat them in the World Cup semi-final – remains an issue.

"The arrogance of England during the 2018 World Cup was not so much about the players, but about the people around them, more journalists and commentators," Modric said.

"For sure, they are one of the favourites for this tournament. That doesn't mean we are not going there to try to play a great game and try to get a result.

"We have showed in the past we can do that and we know how to play against England. Hopefully we can show it again on Sunday," he added.

Much, as ever, will depend on Modric, who has turned a good set of Croatian players into one of the top international teams, peaking in a World Cup final appearance three years ago.

England do not need to be warned, but do they need to be as worried about a player who, for all his brilliance, is fast approaching his 36th birthday and has just come off what can only be described as an average – by his high standards – season at Real Madrid?

Modric was superb as Croatia overturned a one-goal advantage to beat England in that World Cup semi-final in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow in 2018. They were comfortably the better side in the second half and throughout extra time.

And Modric remembers only too well how sweet that victory tasted as he again launched a verbal assault on English arrogance.

Croatia's Luka Modric and teammates during a training session at Wembley Stadium in London - SHUTTERSTOCK
Croatia's Luka Modric and teammates during a training session at Wembley Stadium in London - SHUTTERSTOCK

In Russia, Croatia exposed a familiar weakness in the England side. With the Three Lions unable to keep the ball, Modric and midfield partner Ivan Rakitic took control, passing through the middle of the England team, pushing their wing-backs into a traditional full-back position, dictating the pace and, eventually, the outcome of the game.

In the post-tournament evaluation, England cursed the absence of a player like Modric in their squad. Clever on the ball and canny off it, he was the puppet master and England could not get close enough to cut the strings he was pulling. Croatia's control of the second half was down to Modric running the midfield like a general encouraging his troops on the battlefield.

Modric, though, was 32 then. Though maybe not quite at the peak of his powers, he had that perfect blend of experience and know-how that saw him win the Ballon d'Or a few months later, breaking the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo duopoly.

He was integral to the Real Madrid side who had just won the Champions League for a third consecutive year. There was not a better central midfield player in the world and England suffered because of it.

But England's nemesis has been in decline. He remains a fine player, but like the other elder statesmen – Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, who are now 36 and 31 respectively – he goes into the tournament with a question mark hanging over him.

Croatia always turn up, Roy Keane told SkyBet recently. He voiced a common concern, however: "Modric is 35, can he really produce after a tough season with Real Madrid?"

Real were fortunate to progress as far as the semi-final of the Champions League, where they were well beaten by Chelsea – with England's Mason Mount outshining Modric over the two legs – and were pipped to the La Liga title by city rivals Atletico.

Even against Liverpool, although Real went through, Modric looked a shadow of his former self. Yet, according to former Croatia manager Slaven Bilic, it is in midfield, where Modric remains the conductor of the orchestra, that England's first opponents are strongest.

"Everything is related around our midfield," the former West Brom manager said. "In my opinion, when we play the three – Marcelo Brozovic, Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic – only France compares. They are that good. They are complete. They have everything."

If England do not shut Modric down, either by rushing him on the ball or shutting off the passing lanes for him to link defence and attack, they will suffer at his hands again.

With Brozovic and Kovacic to do his running for him, Modric might be able to conserve his energy levels and still find small pockets of space to operate in.

Much like Andrea Pirlo at Euro 2012, who was then 33, England may believe they can take comfort, before the game, by looking at Modric's age and loss of speed over the ground. They may think they can contain him.

But Pirlo destroyed England in the quarter final long before Italy knocked them out on penalties, eventually dispatching his with a Panenka – a delicate chip down the middle of the goal – to underline the gulf in class on the night.

If Modric is not controlled or, even better, overwhelmed by England's younger, more energetic midfield players at Wembley, Croatia could easily inflict another defeat on Gareth Southgate's side.

Modric speaks to the press ahead of the game - AFP
Modric speaks to the press ahead of the game - AFP
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