'Hey Jude' - England can start to make it better after opening Euro 2024 win

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England’s opening game at Euro 2024 wasn’t as impressive as some of their counterparts, but it was a positive building block...

Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions got off to a winning start in Germany on Sunday evening as they saw off a plucky Serbian side with a 1-0 victory in Gelsenkirchen, and while it was far from a vintage display they did manage to get the job done.

England didn’t manage to blow away their opponents like Germany did, or fightback like the Dutch or Italians, but what they did do - unlike all but one other team at the competition so far - is stop the other side from getting past them. It was the first 1-0 win of the tournament, and though some fans will have been itching for more it was a game that certainly served its purpose.

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It’s now two Euros on the bounce that England have won their opening fixture... That may not sound like the biggest of deals, but before Euro 2020 they had never managed to do so in any of their eight appearances in the competition since the 1960s. The first time they did so they went all the way to the final.

This is not to say that Southgate’s boys breezed to victory, they certainly did not. But what they did do was secure victory against a team that have proven to be handful for many nations in recent years, and done so without too much of a scare - aside from Jordan Pickford’s excellent save late in the day.

Jude Bellingham will get the headlines, and it won’t be the last time, after his match-winning header in the first half, but it was by no means a one-man show from England as they clubbed together to put on an efficient if not glowing display at Arena AufSchalke. Bellingham did his bit, Bukayo Saka was excellent in the first half, and Marc Guehi stood up to the challenge with aplomb. Was it as spectacular as the Germans or Spain? No. Was it enough? Absolutely.

England will need to be better as the tournament goes on, but we’ve seen the sort of talent at their disposal and know that they have the capability to take it up a notch when it’s required. It is going to be required, of course, if they’re going to go all the way in Germany this summer, but they have gears to through and as the old adage goes - it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

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As for Jude, he’s England’s man of the moment. We like to heap pressure on a ‘Golden Boy’, here, we’ve done it before and we’ll do it again. It was Wayne Rooney in 2004, it’s Bellingham in 2024, and the best ones revel in it. The latter did just that in Gelsenkirchen, and it feels like there’s a lot more to come. Roll on the Danes.

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