Bellingham heads Three Lions to opening victory

UEFA Euro 2024 Group -C

Serbia………..0

England………1

Jude Bellingham scored the sole goal in Gelsenkirchen as England, the runners-up of EURO 2020, began their EURO 2024 campaign with a narrow victory in Group C.

Serbia was defeated at the Arena AufSchalke thanks to an early header from Bellingham.

England started the game positively, dominating possession in the early stages against a Serbian team that frequently dropped back and defended in numbers. Within 13 minutes, Serbia’s defensive strategy was undone. Kyle Walker played a perfectly weighted pass to Bukayo Saka on the right, whose cross deflected off Strahinja Pavlović and floated perfectly for Bellingham to powerfully head the ball past Predrag Rajković.

Serbia issued a direct threat when Aleksandar Mitrović narrowly missed the target with a shot, and Dušan Vlahović’s attempt was blocked. However, on the opposite side, the dynamic Saka, who had been dangerous throughout the first half, set up Walker for a powerful run into the box that resulted in a cross-shot across the goalmouth.

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Despite England appearing to be in control, Serbia demonstrated enough to indicate that they still posed a danger. Early in the second half, substitute Filip Mladenović came close to capitalizing on Vlahović’s low driven cross. Trent Alexander-Arnold tested Rajković with a strong effort in response, but it required a combination of Jordan Pickford and Kieran Trippier to prevent Mitrović from scoring an equalizer.

Serbia’s substitutions revitalized the team, and Dušan Tadić almost played a through ball to Luka Jović. However, it was England who came closest to scoring a second goal, with Rajković tipping Harry Kane’s header onto the crossbar. In the closing stages, Pickford had to push Vlahović’s shot over the goal, but that was as close as Serbia came to equalizing.

Line-ups

Serbia: Rajković; Veljković, Milenković, Pavlović; Živković (Birmančević 74), S Milinković-Savić, Gudelj (Ilić 46), Lukić (Jović 61), Kostić (Mladenović 43); Vlahović, Mitrović (Tadić 61)

England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guéhi, Trippier; Alexander-Arnold (Gallagher 69), Rice; Saka (Bowen 76), Bellingham (Mainoo 86), Foden; Kane

Standings provided by Sofascore

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