KEIR RADNEDGE at WEMBLEY: Match-winner Raheem Sterling reminded England fans that “we still have a lot of work to do” after opening their account at Euro 2020 with a 1-0 win over Croatia at Wembley.
Sterling, who converted an assist from Kalvin Phillips in the 57th minute, said: “We needed a win. Now we have to try to build on it, enjoy today then move on to the next one. It’s early days and all we can do is keep going.
“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.
This was the first time that the Manchester City forward has scored a goal in a major finals tournament.
Sterling added: “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, not far from where I grew up.
“But, most importantly, the team played brilliantly at times and it was a great start. It was great to have all these people behind us and now we have to live with it and use it to our advantage.”
Manager Gareth Southgate said: “It’s lovely to have given our fans and our country a really enjoyable afternoon. 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.”