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Euro 2020: Southgate’s gamble works, Modric struggles, Foden shines – England-Croatia talking points
England got their Euro 2020 campaign off to a perfect start on Sunday, beating Croatia 1-0 to exact revenge for their painful defeat in the 2018 World Cup semi-final in Russia.
The home side started brightly in the hot Wembley sunshine before losing momentum as the first half wore on, but Raheem Sterling made the crucial breakthrough in the 57th minute and Croatia were unable to hit back.
Here are three talking points from the opening Group D fixture.
Foden right at home
It has been a breakthrough season for Phil Foden, who has established himself in the Manchester City team and got Gareth Southgate’s vote for a starting spot.
The 21-year-old had his hair dyed blond on the eve of the tournament, seeking to channel the magic of Paul Gascoigne at Euro 96, and looked immediately at home on the big stage.
Foden only made his England debut in September so would probably not have featured had the tournament gone ahead as planned last year, before coronavirus intervened.
Southgate picked the Premier League winner as part of an exciting forward line alongside captain Harry Kane, City team-mate Sterling and Chelsea’s Mason Mount.
And Foden almost gave England the perfect start in front of the home fans, hitting the post with a curling left-footed shot in…