Euro 2020: Is football coming home for England?
England vs Croatia LIVE
- England XI: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Mings, Trippier; Rice, Phillips; Sterling, Mount, Foden; Kane
- Croatia XI: Livakovic; Vrsaljko, Vida, Caleta-Car, Gvardiol; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Rebic, Petkovic, Perisic
- England players take the knee before a mixed reception of booing and applause
- Phil Foden hits the post on six minutes
England vs Croatia LIVE
12′ – Jermaine Jenas has highlighted the bright start made by Phillips on BBC commentary. “He’s had a good start to the game. He’ll be one of the names Gareth Southgate would have been questioning should he start him, should he not, should he go with more experience but less fit Jordan Henderson. But he seems up for it today.”
9′ – From the resulting corner, Croatia head the ball away but it falls to Phillips, whose 20-yard strike is forced away by Livakovic.
8′ – Rapid start by England. Sterling is played through – potentially in an offside position – before Caleta-Car makes a crucial challenge to put the ball out for a corner.
6′ – Wow! Almost a dream start for England as Phil Foden rattles the post. Sterling carried the ball through the midfield and picked out Foden on the right wing. The Man City man entered the area and curled a left-footed effort towards the back post, beating Livakovic and bouncing off the upright.
2′ – Trippier is indeed starting as England’s right-back, but it looks like a 4-1-4-1 rather than a 4-2-3-1 early on. Declan Rice is sat in front of the defence with Kalvin Phillips and Mason Mount roaming ahead of him.
2pm: England players take the knee before a mixed reception of boos and applause. Shortly after, Kane gets us underway!
Wembley has sent its well wishes to Eriksen.
1.50pm: Gareth Southgate has spoken to the BBC ahead of kick-off, stressing England’s focus on the task ahead.
He said: “We’re very focused on today’s game and prepared tactically for the game. We know everyone around is is hugely excited and the players are as well.
“We have to focus on the performance and put the other noise aside us to one side.”
Southgate’s decision to start Trippier over Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell at left-back has prompted plenty of conversation. He has hinted that Trippier starts with Croatia’s threats in mind.
“With Kieran we feel he’s a very experienced player and a good 1 v 1 defender to stop crosses coming in,” Southgate explained.
“His communication and leadership will be a help and his experience will help us.
“The two boys out of the squad and Harry Maguire, it’s just unfortunate we can only name 23 and we’ve had to cover certain positions. I don’t like having to leave players out of the squad at a major tournament.”
Grab yourself a drink and get comfy, because we’re getting underway in less than 10 minutes!
1.45pm: 15 minutes until kick-off… how are the nerves?
This one is tough to call. England have won five of their 10 meetings with Croatia, but have suffered two crushing defeats over the years.
Of course, Croatia dumped the Three Lions out of the 2018 World Cup semi-finals with a 2-1 win after extra time.
A decade prior, Steve McClaren watched his side lose 3-2 at Wembley, ending the nation’s hopes of Euro 2008 qualification.
1.35pm: Mason Mount makes his first major tournament start for England this afternoon. Ahead of kick-off, he expressed his excitement.
“I’m very excited. We’re all confident and looking forward to the game,” Mount said.
On playing games at Wembley, he said: “It gives you a massive boost when fans are in the stadium and supporting you. It’s going to be a tough game and with the added heat today you can feel how hot it is.
“It’s going to be an exciting game. We’re looking forward to it and we’re going to give it our all.”
1.30pm: Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has opened up about England having an ‘unfair advantage’ at this year’s Euro 2020.
He said: “I think [England have an unfair advantage], yes.
“It’s a shame there won’t be a lot of Croatia supporters because we always feel their presence when they are there.
“But it is how it is. We need to focus on the pitch and don’t get bothered about the environment.”
Southgate is leading England into his first Euros.
1.20pm: Opta have supplied a very interesting stat regarding the England line-up, if that’s your thing…
This is the first major tournament match in which England have had no Liverpool nor Manchester United player in the starting XI since a EURO 1992 group stage game against France.
One for you Villa fans out there…
Tyrone Mings is the first Aston Villa player to start for England at the European Championships since current manager Gareth Southgate against Germany in 1996.
And if you’re surprised at Southgate’s decision to start Trippier at left-back, you’re right to be feeling that way.
According to Opta’s Matt Furniss, the 30-year-old has started just four professional matches at left-back…
1.10pm: Whilst the average age of today’s England team is 26, Croatia’s is 29 with experienced stars like Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic involved.
BBC pundit Jermaine Jenas believes the chemistry in the Croatia midfield will provide a tough test for the Three Lions.
He said: “I think it’s going to be a tough afternoon I really do.
“Croatia’s midfield have been playing together for the best part of five to eight years. They know each other inside out and have been consistent in major tournaments for a number of years.
“On the flip side, England are a bit brand new. We’re fresh which has pros and cons.
“If we’re going to win this game it will be the depth we have in our ranks and that’s what Gareth Southgate will lean on.”
England fans are in fine voice at Wembley.
1pm: Ex-England winger Chris Waddle has been left surprised by the England team this afternoon, telling BBC Radio 5 Live:
“I don’t get it. Luke Shaw’s had a great season for Man Utd.
“He got himself in the squad and we all thought he was going to start ahead of Chilwell especially in a back four.
I don’t see the reasons. I don’t get it. Is it tactical in some reason? I don’t see why he needs to play a right-footed left-back.
“There is a reason and I’m sure he’ll explain why but for me, it’s bizarre.”
12.50pm: In case you needed reminding, Southgate’s first starting line-up of the competition has left him with a very strong bench.
Dean Henderson and Sam Johnstone are waiting in the wings should Pickford need replacing for whatever reason.
In terms of defensive options, Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell will possibly be surprised to be sat next to each other on the bench, with Conor Coady, Ben White and Reece James alongside them.
Jordan Henderson is only fit enough for the bench, with Jude Bellingham the only other central midfielder on the sideline after James Ward-Prowse’s surprise squad omission.
Southgate has an array of attacking options, should England need a goal, with Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish, Bukayo Saka and Dominic Calvert-Lewin ready to make an impact.
A notable absence from the squad is Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, with Southgate yet to confirm why he’s not even on the bench this afternoon.
12.40pm: Gareth Southgate has named his England team for this afternoon’s Euro 2020 Group D opener.
Jordan Pickford starts in goal, with Kyle Walker, John Stones, Tyrone Mings and Kieran Trippier making up the back four, not three!
Southgate has gone with two defensive midfielders, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips, behind Mason Mount in midfield.
Captain Harry Kane unsurprisingly starts as the striker, with Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling on either side of him in attack.
12.30pm: Good afternoon and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of England’s opening match of Euro 2020 against Croatia.
Gareth Southgate is hoping to lead the Three Lions deep into the tournament and expectation is high after the semi-final run at the 2018 World Cup.
It was Croatia who denied England the chance to face France in that final and fans are desperate to see revenge dished out at Wembley.
A home crowd could be the difference between success and failure. Stay tuned for all the latest build-up, match action and reaction.
England vs Croatia LIVE updates
The aforementioned defeat in Moscow three years ago will still be a sore memory for much of the England squad.
Kieran Trippier’s early free-kick had Gareth Southgate’s side ahead only for Ivan Perisic to equalise and Mario Mandzukic to send Croatia through to the final.
Since then, the teams have clashed in the Nations League – a 0-0 draw behind closed doors in Rijeka followed up by Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane scoring late goals in a 2-1 Wembley win to send England into the inaugural finals.