England vs Serbia: Date, kick-off time and TV channel for Euro 2024 group-stage game

Trent Alexander-Arnold –

England begin their Euro 2024 campaign against Serbia, with matches against Denmark and Slovenia to follow in Group C.

England’s men have not won a major tournament since the 1966 World Cup, but have gone close under Gareth Southgate. They reached a World Cup semi-final in 2018 before losing to Italy on penalties in the final of Euro 2020.

They are well-fancied to go one better in Germany this summer, and will be looking to make the best possible start against a dangerous Serbia team. However, preparations took a hit in their final warm-up match, losing 1-0 to Iceland at Wembley.

When is it?

England’s opening game of Euro 2024 against Serbia is this evening. It is one of 51 Euro 2024 fixtures at the tournament.

Where is it?

England begin their group stage in Gelsenkirchen at the Veltins Arena, which is home to Bundesliga 2 club Schalke. The stadium has unhappy memories for England fans as the venue for their 2006 World Cup exit on penalties against Portugal, when Wayne Rooney was sent off.

What time is kick-off?

The match gets under way at 8pm UK time.

What TV channel is it on?

BBC One has exclusive live coverage in the UK with the game also available to watch on iPlayer. Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, and Rachel Corsie are among the BBC’s pundits for the tournament.

What is the team news?

England defender John Stones is back in training after being confined to his bedroom with a sickness bug earlier in the week.

Stones is the only central defender in Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad with any major tournament experience and Lewis Dunk would compete with Ezri Konsa to stand in for Stones and partner Marc Guehi in the centre of defence, if the Manchester City man was not back to full fitness.

Manager Southgate also had injury concerns over Bukayo Saka returning from a small muscle issue, while Luke Shaw has been out since February with a hamstring problem and is expected to miss the first game of the tournament. However, the left-back was able to train in front of the crowd in Jena, with England players put through their paces.

Southgate hails Alexander-Arnold as one of the best passers in the world

Southgate has hailed Trent Alexander-Arnold as among the best passers in the world ahead of today’s opener at the Euros and believes he gives England a different dimension.

Alexander-Arnold is poised to start against Serbia, with the 25-year-old looked upon as a midfielder over the last year by Southgate rather than a right-back. He has been in the frame to start alongside Declan Rice in Gelsenkirchen with Jude Bellingham further forward.

Alexander Arnold
Trent Alexander-Arnold (left) is ready to start alongside Declan Rice in England's Euro opener - PA/Adam Davy

While playing for Liverpool last season, Alexander-Arnold played at full-back but “inverted” into central midfield mid-match where he could use his range of passing.

Southgate, when asked whether he is ready to start, told ITV: “We believe so. We think he can offer something we don’t have and give the team a different dimension. He’s really been diligent in understanding the role.

“He has as good a passing range as anybody in world football. He’s been really invested in learning, understanding all aspects of the game in that role. I’ve enjoyed working with him on that project for the last 12 months. His mentality and attitude towards it have been absolutely first-class.”

Southgate has looked to use Alexander-Arnold’s distribution in central areas and gave him the No 8 squad number for the tournament. He started looking seriously at Alexander-Arnold as a midfielder a year ago in qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.

What sort of team are Serbia?

Coached by legendary former player Dragan Stojkovic, Serbia made hard work of their qualification group but made it through to the 24-team finals in Germany as runners-up.

Stojkovic favours a 3-4-2-1, with the classy Dusan Tadic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic operating behind former Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. There is another Fulham connection in midfield with Sasa Lukic a regular starter, while Filip Kostic loves to raid forward from left wing-back and deliver crosses.

Serbia also have the option of flipping to a two-striker system by pairing Mitrovic with Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic, a formidable physical duo. Serbia have looked susceptible to counter-attacks, though, and they are heavily reliant on crosses to their tall forwards. Harry Maguire’s absence could be felt in this game.

Attack the best form of defence

Serbia centre-back Strahinja Pavlovic wants to expose England’s “flaws” during their Euro opener in Gelsenkirchen and make attack their best form of defence.

Pavlovic, 23, insists his team-mates can take inspiration from Iceland’s win ahead of the tournament, when Southgate’s team were defeated 1-0 and conceded several chances at Wembley.

With Mitrovic, Vlahovic and Luka Jovic among Serbia’s forwards, their attack could cause problems for an England back line with Maguire absent and Stones a concern having missed a day of training this week through illness.

“If I were to ask myself, and if I could decide about it, I would attack the English,” said Pavlovic. “I would go up there and try to press them. Everyone has flaws, even the English. We saw how organised Iceland was able to threaten and defeat them. We are analyzing everything and will prepare well.”

Pavlovic is likely to be marking Harry Kane at the Veltins Arena this evening, but he is wary of focusing solely on the Bayern Munich striker.

“An incredible player, he had a great season, and if you want to stop such a player, you have to do it as a team,” he said. “All together. We must defend together, attack together. We are best when we have the ball at our feet, we will try to play like that. There’s also Jude Bellingham. He had a great season, he is in top form, but we have to be a team. To do our best, to stop all those players.”

What are the odds?

  • England 2/5

  • Serbia 6/1

  • Draw 10/3

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