Bellingham helps England beat Serbia 1-0 in nervy Euros opener

UK

Jude Bellingham fired in a header to help England get up and running in Euro 2024 as they edged past Serbia 1-0.

It was a nervy second half for England though, who were forced to soak up pressure from their much-improved opponents.

Bellingham had settled fans’ nerves early on, scoring from a deflected Bukayo Saka cross from the right in the 13th minute.

The 20-year-old’s goal came just a few weeks after he finished a stellar season with Real Madrid by lifting the Champions League.

Kyle Walker also had a good chance in the 25th minute, using his pace to dart into the box and flash the ball across goal.

Bellingham opened the scoring with a header in the 13th minute. Pic: AP
Image:
Bellingham opened the scoring with a header in the 13th minute. Pic: AP

Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters

Fans celebrate the first goal at Wembley's BoxPark. Pic: Reuters
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Wembley’s BoxPark was rocking after the opening goal. Pic: Reuters

England dominated most of the first half but there was a warning of Serbia’s threat when Aleksandar Mitrovic sent a shot a few yards wide in the 20th minute.

Serbia were much better after the break, winning more 50-50 balls and putting the Three Lions on the back foot for much of the last 45.

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Southgate’s team struggled for possession and Trent Alexander-Arnold made way for Conor Gallagher and Saka was subbed for Jarrod Bowen.

Harry Kane almost made it 2-0 with a header from close range in the 77th minute, but the Serbian keeper pushed it on to the crossbar.

Harry Kane duels with Serbia's Nikola Milenkovic. Pic: AP
Image:
Harry Kane duels with Serbia’s Nikola Milenkovic. Pic: AP

It was a quiet game overall for the captain, who scored a prolific 44 goals with Bayern Munich this season.

Jordan Pickford also made a crucial save in the 82nd minute to keep out Dusan Vlahovic’s shot from about 22 yards.

Goal scorer Bellingham was subbed late on for another young prodigy, Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo, but fans will be happy the star man got on the score sheet.

Speaking after the match, the Madrid star thanked his family and support network and said he was happy to continue his form with the Spanish champions into the Euros.

The 20-year-old said he was “willing to do whatever it takes” to help England win.

The win puts England top of their group after Denmark and Slovenia drew 1-1 earlier, but pundits said the second-half performance was concerning.

Ex Manchester City player Micah Richards, speaking on the BBC, described the result as “underwhelming”.

Next up for the Three Lions is Denmark this Thursday followed by Slovenia on 25 June.

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