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Gareth Southgate lauds England's "intelligence" against Croatia

:Headline: Gareth Southgate lauds England's 'intelligence' against Croatia:
Raheem Sterling scored the only goal as the Three Lions defeated Croatia at Wembley.
Sports Mole

Gareth Southgate was pleased to hit the ground running as England took a big step towards qualifying from their Euro 2020 group ahead of Friday's clash against old foes Scotland.

Sunday saw the Three Lions win a European Championship opener for the first time in their history when World Cup semi-final heartbreakers Croatia travelled to sweltering Wembley.

Raheem Sterling's first major tournament goal was the difference under the arch as a controlled, measured performance helped England start Group D with a 1-0 victory in front of a socially distanced crowd.

The Three Lions are back at Wembley on Friday for a mouth-watering clash against Scotland, with Southgate looking to build on the promising, mature performance.

"I haven't actually seen the chance at the far post yet to see how good a chance that was, but he brings so much more to our team than just the goals."

Kane and Sterling were among six survivors in the starting line-up from the World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia three years ago.

Among the five tournament debutants starting on Sunday was Kalvin Phillips, with the "high performance, low maintenance" midfielder capping a superb display with an assist.

"We watched him a lot the season before last in the Championship," Southgate added. "We were going to bring him into the squad ahead of the Euros a year ago.

"He's now had a year of Premier League football. He's technically good and we also knew that the athleticism in midfield today would be so important.

"We had to get tight to their three midfield players and Mason (Mount), Kalvin and Declan (Rice) did that really well along with the wide players helping out and Harry taking up the right positions.

"They did a lot of the job for the defence to limit the opportunities and Kalvin is a fabulous boy to work with, so unassuming.

"I thought his performance was outstanding. Two passes in the first half in behind the defence were top level and the contribution for the goal summed his day up, really."

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