Football

Serbia 0-1 England, Euro 2024: Jude Bellingham Gives Three Lions Winning Start

England held on to make it four wins from four opening matches at major tournaments under Gareth Southgate, thanks to a 13th-minute goal from Jude Bellingham against Serbia at Euro 2024

Bellingham scored the winner in Gelsenkirchen.
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Jude Bellingham was the hero as England launched their Euro 2024 campaign with a narrow 1-0 victory over Serbia in Gelsenkirchen. (More Football News)

The Real Madrid midfielder's stooping header opened the Three Lions' account in the 13th minute of Sunday's Group C clash.

England ultimately held on to make it four wins from four opening matches at major tournaments under Gareth Southgate, though Serbia were by far the better side in the second half.

That being said, Harry Kane almost doubled England's lead, with Predrag Rajkovic tipping brilliantly onto the crossbar from the striker's header, with his opposite number Jordan Pickford making a fine save from Dusan Vlahovic to keep Serbia at bay at the other end.

Euro 2020 runners-up England quickly settled into their rhythm and their positive start was rewarded when Bukayo Saka's cross deflected up and into the path of Bellingham, who duly powered home.

The Three Lions survived a scare seven minutes later when Aleksandar Mitrovic fired narrowly wide of Pickford's left post after a mistake from Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield.

However, they went close to doubling their lead soon after as Kyle Walker raced in behind the Serbia defence on the counter, but he dragged off target. 

England did not flow as freely after the break, and Serbia swiftly established their dominance, albeit without overly testing Pickford.

Dusan Tadic's introduction only increased the pressure on England's defence, and fellow Luka Jovic snatched at a good chance, though Southgate's team would have had a second if not for Rajkovic's wonderful reflex stop from Kane in the 77th minute.

The Three Lions had Pickford to thank for pushing Vlahovic's snapshot over eight minutes from time, before Kane made a vital block, but England got the job done.

Three points for Three Lions, but too close for comfort

England's last visit to Gelsenkirchen ended in penalty shootout heartbreak, when Sven-Goran Eriksson's team were knocked out of the 2006 World Cup in the quarter-finals by Portugal.

Bellingham had only just celebrated his third birthday. Fast forward nearly 18 years, and the Madrid superstar ensured the Three Lions' next visit to Arena AufSchalke provided happier memories with his thumping header eventually proving enough to seal the points.

England's dominant start faded and they were holding on a little towards the end.

Nevertheless, they managed to see out a 12th victory at major tournaments since the start of the 2018 World Cup, the joint-most by any nation during that time (level with France).

Meanwhile, the Three Lions became the first team in European Championship history to keep five consecutive clean sheets in the group stages of the competition.

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