Raheem Sterling scored the only goal of the game as England beat Croatia at a sun-drenched Wembley.

“I thought from the first minute to the last it was a really good performance,Southgate told ITV. “We knew we had to get pressure on their midfield, that was key.”

Although the England manager, Southgate, had sprung a surprise before the game when he opted to deploy Kieran Trippier at left-back. But Southgate’s selections were fully vindicated as the Three Lions delivered a composed and impressive performance to beat the World Cup finalists.

READ MORE NEWS  Boxing: Frazer Clarke Plans Professional Entry To Heavyweight Division After Olympics

“I wanted to put lots of experienced players in today. We have a lot of young players and on days like this, experience is important.”

However, Speaking immediately after the game to the BBC, Southgate said: “The players dealt with the big occasion really well right from the start.

“They played really well, they settled early in the game. There were moments when the tempo dropped just because of the heat, but for the majority of the game, we were in control, we didn’t give them many opportunities and we looked dangerous.

“I thought they [the back four] coped very well. With Croatia, I think you have to put pressure on their midfield players especially and we managed to do that. That limits some of the supply, but the defenders dealt with the longer balls well, they read the game well, they were composed in their build-up.”

Southgate also hailed the contributions of Phillips and Sterling, who combined to match-winning effect just before the hour mark.

READ MORE NEWS  Football: Eric Cantona Has Been Inducted Into Premier League Hall Of Fame

“Kalvin is player who is so understated and has had a fabulous start to his international career. I thought he was immense throughout, as they all were. I’m so pleased for Raheem. He’s had this hex in tournaments, not being able to get the goal. I thought he was dangerous all day, right from the start.

“He’s a good player and his goal-scoring record suggests that we should have faith with him, especially in the last few years. I think he was motivated to show that. For him and everybody, we know we’re going to need that depth with the attacking players. We’ll need them through the tournament.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *