Mason Mount played a key role as England started their Euro 2020 campaign in winning fashion, thanks to a 1-0 victory over Mateo Kovacic’s Croatia at Wembley.
The Chelsea midfielder played the full 90 minutes in sweltering conditions in London, going close to scoring in the second half with a free-kick that nestled on the roof of the Croatian net.
It was Raheem Sterling who scored the only goal of the game at Wembley, latching onto a pass from Kalvin Phillips and finishing well from inside the area to ensure the Three Lions took maximum points from their opening Euro group game for the first time in their history.
Mount lined up in midfield against his Chelsea team-mate Kovacic, who picked up a yellow card just after the restart following a crunching tackle on his club colleague.
England started the game brightly, with Phil Foden striking the inside of the post within the first six minutes, before Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips saw an effort kept out by the goalkeeper moments later.
Mount impressed every time he got on the ball with his driving runs from midfield, although it was Zlatko Dedic’s side who ended the half the stronger with a sustained period of pressure.
However it was Gareth Southgate’s England charges, backed by around 22,000 fans inside Wembley, who pushed on and grabbed the all-important goal, as Sterling justified his starting spot by firing home the winner just before the hour mark.
Both sides are next in action on Friday, with England facing Scotland at Wembley and Croatia taking on Czech Republic at Hampden Park.