Euro 2024: Bellingham's Early Strike Propels England to Victory Over Serbia

Bellingham's goal, stemming from his own initiated move and capitalizing on Bukayo Saka's deflected cross, came in the 13th minute, setting England ahead early.
Euro 2024: Bellingham's Early Strike Propels England to Victory Over Serbia
Euro 2024: Bellingham's Early Strike Propels England to Victory Over Serbia

Jude Bellingham's first-half header secured a 1-0 win for England over Serbia, marking a strong start to their Euro 2024 campaign. Bellingham's goal, stemming from his own initiated move and capitalizing on Bukayo Saka's deflected cross, came in the 13th minute, setting England ahead early.

The victory placed England at the top of Group C, following a 1-1 draw between Denmark and Slovenia earlier in the day.

Bellingham remained a key player throughout, driving England's offense and earning cheers from fans at the Arena AufSchalke.

England initially created numerous chances on the right flank, with Saka and fullback Kyle Walker forming a formidable partnership. Walker's forward runs were a constant threat in the first half.

However, Serbia gained momentum in the second half, challenging England more effectively. England struggled to maintain their early dominance post-halftime.

The match concluded with a total of only 11 shots—six by Serbia and five by England—the lowest shot count in a European Championship match since at least 1980, according to Opta data.

When questioned about England's loss of momentum, Bellingham disagreed with the notion that the team was still developing.

"I don't agree with that," he said. "The first half shows we can score against any team, and the second half shows we can keep a clean sheet against any team."

Serbia improved at the start of the second half, following coach Dragan Stojkovic's substitution of Ivan Ilic for defensive midfielder Nemanja Gudelj. Striker Dusan Vlahovic soon delivered a dangerous cross through England's box, energizing Serbian fans.

Stojkovic then increased his offensive strategy by bringing on Dusan Tadic and Luka Jovic after the hour mark.

Glimpses from the match
Glimpses from the match

In response, England's coach Gareth Southgate introduced Conor Gallagher, replacing Trent Alexander-Arnold, who had been playing in an unusual midfield role.

Another substitute, Jarrod Bowen, provided a precise cross for captain Harry Kane, whose header was dramatically saved by goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic, hitting the bar in the 77th minute.

Five minutes later, Jordan Pickford made a crucial save, tipping over a powerful shot from Vlahovic as Serbia maintained pressure.

Despite the onslaught, England's defense, featuring Marc Guehi in his first major tournament and Kieran Trippier as a stand-in left back, held firm to secure the win.

Glimpses from the match
Glimpses from the match

Kane acknowledged the performance was not England's best. "Overall a deserved win. It's just about getting through," said the England captain.

"There was a spell in the second half where we were camped in our box and found it hard to get out, but it was an important win tonight."

England will next play Denmark on Thursday, while Serbia will face Slovenia.

Euro 2024: Bellingham's Early Strike Propels England to Victory Over Serbia
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