England 1-0 Croatia: Raheem Sterling and Kalvin Phillips star but Luka Modric fails to walk the walk

Raheem Sterling scores winner, assisted by Kalvin Phillips as England beat Croatia 1-0 in their Euro 2020 Group D opener; England's next game is against Scotland at Wembley on Friday

Image: Kalvin Phillips starred for England in their win over Croatia

England started their Euro 2020 campaign with a 1-0 win over Croatia but who starred and who struggled in their big Wembley opener?


Jordan Pickford - 6

Biggest task throughout was to pick the right pass, with very little else to do. Not afraid to go long from goal kicks, but one of his quietest afternoons in an England shirt, bar some commanding late aerial claims.

Kyle Walker - 5

Kyle Walker
Image: Kyle Walker

Wasn't tested by Ivan Perisic in the first half, and was naturally asked to be a big part of England's build-up play, but the Man City man's passing was sloppy on a handful of occasions.

Did his job defensively, but with plenty of options at right-back, don't be surprised to see Southgate mix it up for Scotland.

John Stones - 6

Mings beside him was tasked with doing most of the clean-up work, but did everything else asked of him. Clean, tidy, and looked at home.

Tyrone Mings - 7

Questions pre-match as to whether he could operate sufficiently in a back four without an extra man to cover, but Mings was strong and confident in snuffing out Croatia attacks.

The Villa man covered the channels well, and was in the right place at the right time when balls arrived into the box, while not afraid to go long for forward runners if nothing on in front of him. Very encouraging for England in what is arguably their weakest position.

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Kieran Trippier - 6

A surprise start at left-back - a position he has played in five times for England under Southgate, but just once in nearly 350 games at club level - but linked up well with Sterling in the first half an hour.

Otherwise, defensively solid enough, but could have offered more in an attacking sense - and like the right-back slot, Southgate will surely rotate.

Declan Rice - 7

Declan Rice
Image: Declan Rice

Operated much deeper than central midfield partner Phillips, and was a big part of the reason Croatia had few options, even when they did get going.

Aerially dominant, and a key cog in how Southgate wants to play, dropping into defence when needed. A shoo-in in this England side for a reason.

Kalvin Phillips - 8

England's best player, appearing in useful attacking and defensive positions. Excellent pressing in Croatia's half to stop the World Cup finalists from getting into any rhythm, and completed all of his passes in the first hour.

Fantastic, dogged run to set up Sterling's goal; he could have easily turned back for a safe pass after avoiding one challenge, but kept his head up and saw the run.

Mason Mount - 7

Image: Mason Mount

Spatial awareness is one of Mount's key strengths, appearing in pockets between Croatia's midfield and defence in the first half, and finding England's runners with clever mid-range balls.

Brilliant work off the ball, important on an afternoon where the Wembley heat played its part.

Phil Foden - 7

England's Phil Foden holds off Croatia's Mateo Kovacic at Wembley
Image: Phil Foden

Dangerous when he was found high up the pitch early on, but Croatia cut off the supply to him after hitting the post in the first five minutes. Had to drop slightly deeper as the game wore on to receive the ball. Brought off on 70 minutes.

Raheem Sterling - 8

Image: Raheem Sterling celebrates the winner

Stock was low going into this game, with just three goals in his last 22 games, but was instantly dangerous. Chose the right time to turn his many markers and get England moving, a constant outlet if the short build-up wasn't on.

Southgate's roar and subsequent grin after the goal suggested he knew this was a controversial selection, but vindicated. That's 13 in 17 appearances for England.

Harry Kane - 6

Harry Kane
Image: Harry Kane

The Golden Boot winner in 2018 wasn't in the game for the first 45 minutes, heavily marshalled by Croatia's defence, but dropped deeper to get involved in the second half. Big chance to score at the far post just after the opener, but when things aren't going Kane's way in an attacking sense, he still mucks in with the hard work.


Marcus Rashford - 6

England's first sub, but by this point the hosts were attempting to keep things tight. His introduction was, however, an indication of Southgate's thinking late in games when leading. Jack Grealish nowhere to be seen… yet.

Jude Bellingham - N/A

Given just eight minutes, but threw himself about to stop any potential danger in midfield.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin - N/A

Given a run-out in the final few minutes with Sterling getting a huge ovation.

Podcast: Southgate calls it right!

Gareth Southgate knows his England side best... who would have thought it?! Kate Burlaga is joined by Pete Smith, Jess Creighton and Gerard Brand to discuss England's victory over Croatia in their Euro 2020 opener at Wembley, as Raheem Sterling answers his critics with the only goal.

The panel discuss Southgate's surprise selections and controlling performance, and look ahead to England's next Group D game against Scotland on Friday. We also preview the Scots' first major tournament game in 23 years as they face Czech Republic on Monday.

Geraint Hughes also joins us to review Wales' hard-fought 1-1 draw in Switzerland in Group A on Saturday.



Dominik Livakovic - 6

Nowhere near the early Foden chance that came back off the post but decent stop amid crowd of bodies to thwart Phillips in the first half. Was scrambling as Kane looked to make it two - but first thought was to check on the well-being of the England captain.

Sime Vrsaljko - 6

Sime Vrsaljko and Raheem Sterling battle for the ball
Image: Sime Vrsaljko and Raheem Sterling battle for the ball

Struggled with England's early pace and combination play down the left but some dangerous deliveries from the right flank on occasions he did manage to get forward. Desperate late lunge to try and deny Sterling for the opener but in vain.

Domagoj Vida - 5

Physical presence who tried to play forward but caught out of position several times.

Duje Caleta-Car - 6

Deputised for Dejan Lovren and made a crucial intervention to deny Sterling in England's lively opening. Solid throughout.

Josko Gvardiol - 5

Given the slip when Foden cut inside and left Rebic frustrated when he wasted a couple of opportunities in promising territory on the left. Weak tackle in build-up to goal but made some amends to deny Kane soon after.

Luka Modric - 6

Image: Mason Mount

Croatia's talisman had called out perceived media "arrogance" before the match but struggled to do talking on the pitch in the early stages, despite a couple of early weaving runs. Dropped deeper to spark side and grew into game, showing passing range but killer ball elusive.

Mateo Kovacic - 6

England's Phil Foden holds off Croatia's Mateo Kovacic at Wembley
Image: Phil Foden

Combated superbly by the energy and high press of Phillips. Fans of Chelsea's rivals enjoyed one long ball he spanked to nobody. Lively in the tackle as expected - a bit too lively in challenge on Mount that drew yellow card shortly after break.

Marcelo Brozovic - 5

Dropped deep and tried to play through the pressure but like fellow midfielders for most in first half, struggled to turn defence into attack. Found more time and space as Croatia settled towards half-time but eye was off in attacking sense and dispossessed on string of occasions. Hooked in second half.

Ante Rebic - 5

Burly early presence leading the line but starved of real service and fewest touches of any outfield starter. Big chance to equalise but dragged horribly wide. Recorded one of Croatia's two shots on target but expected goals data of just 0.4 showed how side overall were toothless.

Andrej Kramaric - 5

Former Leicester man, now with Hoffenheim, was preferred to Bruno Petkovic despite his team-high four goals in qualifying. Looked to link play and used body strength well but little impact further forward.

Ivan Perisic - 5

Played key role in condemning England at 2018 World Cup - involved in more goals (seven goals, four assists) than any other for Croatia in major tournament history but found himself back to do plenty of dirty work. Let England off in first half when he failed to connect properly with a loose ball and well shepherded by Walker when another rare sniff came.


Nikola Vlasic - 5

Replaced the disappointing Brozovic with 20 to go, deployed in the hole but unable to make impact.

Josip Brekalo - 6

More of a bonafide winger, sent on for Kramaric with 20 minutes left. Harried hard and got a couple of crosses off but could not change dynamic.

Bruno Petkovic - N/A

On for Rebic as game headed into final 10 minutes. Pickford claim thwarted him in closing moments.

Mario Pasalic - N/A

Given a run-out in the final minutes in place of Kovavic.

What's next?

Both teams are next in action on June 18. England face a huge Home Nations derby against Scotland at Wembley (kick-off 8pm) while Croatia face the Czech Republic at Hampden Park (kick-off 5pm).

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