England’s Euro 2020 campaign got off to a positive start as Raheem Sterling’s goal secured victory for the Three Lions over Croatia at Wembley┬áin London.

Sterling repaid England manager Gareth Southgate’s faith in him with a phenomenal performance that was capped of with the winning goal after 57 minutes following a perfect pass from man-of-the-match Kalvin Phillips.

Southgate’s team selection was much-talked-about as he did not give Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish a start after an impressive showing in the buildup to Euro 2020. The England boss also chose to play Kieran Trippier at left-back over Manchester United‘s Luke Shaw and Chelsea’s Champions League winner Ben Chilwell, which raised a lot of eyebrows.

However, his choices paid off as England looked solid throughout and were never really troubled by the 2018 FIFA World Cup runners up who were way below par. Southgate trusted his experienced players in Trippier and Sterling and it paid dividends.

The Three Lions almost took an early lead when young Manchester City star Phil Foden struck the post but before the fans began to get frustrated, Sterling made the decisive contribution with his first goal in a major tournament.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was barely tested by a disappointing Croatia side, who never looked like repeating their victory over England in the 2018 FIFA World Cup semifinal in Moscow.

A win for England against Scotland on Friday will almost secure their qualification into the knockout stages of Euro 2020 from Group F when the two sides face off in London.

Leeds United’s Phillips has been branded ‘The Yorkshire Pirlo’ by Leeds United fans at Elland Road. This performance truly justified that nickname as he looked absolutely world-class.

Kalvin Phillips

“The Yorkshire Pirlo” Kalvin Phillips (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

The 25-year-old looked like England’s best player by far as he dominated the game in central midfield alongside West Ham star Declan Rice. It was his pass that provided Sterling with the perfect opportunity to give England the win and it was truly deserved.

This was Phillips’ first game in a major tournament and he has guaranteed his place in England’s starting lineup after an incredible performance.

England boss Gareth Southgate said to BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’m most pleased with the performance. Of course, the win is important. To win the first game relieves some tension but it doesn’t mean we’ve qualified and that’s the first objective.

“The performance was really good. It was a big occasion, a sweltering hot day and the players settled really quickly, used the ball well and we limited Croatia to very few clear chances throughout the game.

“They are a good opponent who we have huge respect for and we know so much about, so I couldn’t be happier with not just the players that started but those who came in and the whole group for the way they prepared for this game.”

England will be keen on winning all their games in the group stage as they are expected to do so. Although the Three Lions are not favourites to win Euro 2020, they can make the most of home advantage given that they will be playing all their games in London itself.

The semifinals and final of Euro 2020 are also going to be played at Wembley so this is a great opportunity for England to win the continental competition that they have never won in their history.