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Raheem Sterling scores as England beat Croatia 1-0 in first Euro 2020 game at Wembley

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England have beaten Croatia 1-0 in their opening Euro 2020 game at Wembley.

The only goal came from Raheem Sterling in the 57th minute – his first in a major tournament – in the same week he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

It is the first time ever England have won their opening match of the European championship.

Raheem Sterling (L) celebrates his second-half goal
Image: Raheem Sterling (L) was assisted by Kalvin Phillips to score after half time. Pic: AP
Euro 2020 - Group D - England v Croatia - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - June 13, 2021 England's Phil Foden shoots at goal and hits the post Pool via REUTERS/Laurence Griffiths
Image: Phil Foden makes an early attempt at goal, but hits the post. Pic: AP

England dominated in the first half, with Phil Foden hitting the post six minutes in and Kieran Trippier coming close with a free kick just before half-time.

Croatia appeared to come out stronger in the second half, until Sterling scored with the help of Kalvin Phillips, while captain Harry Kane collided with the post as he looked to double the lead.

Manager Gareth Southgate celebrates the win. Pic: AP
Image: Manager Gareth Southgate celebrates the win. Pic: AP

They had their chances but England held on to secure maximum points ahead of their next game against Scotland on Friday.

Asked about his performance after the match, Sterling told the BBC: “I’ve always said if I play at Wembley in a major tournament, in my back garden, I’m scoring. So it’s great to finally do that.”

More on Euro 2020

Some fans booed as a number of England players took the knee before kick-off, but they were soon drowned out by applause.

Manager Gareth Southgate wrote an open letter to fans stating the squad’s intention to make the anti-racism gesture throughout the tournament after they were booed for doing so during their two warm-up matches.

The FA has also called on England supporters to back the team’s decision.

Fans cheer from the stands at Wembley. Pic: AP
Image: England fans cheer from the stands at Wembley. Pic: AP

There were cheers ahead of the match as announcers wished Danish player Christian Eriksen well after he collapsed during the Denmark v Finland game on Saturday.

A big screen displayed the message “Best wishes Christian” as applause broke out in the stands.

The Group D clash, which won England three points, was held in front of 22,500 fans at Wembley in accordance with the government’s lockdown roadmap.

There were cheers as the announcer wished Christian Eriksen well. Pic: AP
Image: There were cheers as the announcer wished Christian Eriksen well. Pic: AP

Hopes of restrictions being lifted completely in England on 21 June are diminishing after Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted he is “less optimistic” amid a rise in cases and the spread of the Delta (Indian) COVID variant.

A final decision, which would mean more fans in football stadiums, is due to be announced on Monday.