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Jude Bellingham 12'

Serbia - England summary: score, goals and highlights | Euro 2024

A first half header from Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham was enough to take all three points, but it was far from a comfortable evening for The Three Lions.

Serbia vs England: as it happened

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Many thanks for reading - and be sure to join my colleague Paul Reidy for live-text coverage from Group D tomorrow, as France get their Euro 2024 campaign underway against Austria. Kick-off in Düsseldorf is at 3pm ET.


William Allen

Who do England and Serbia face next?

After edging to three points in their opener tonight, England now go to Frankfurt to face Denmark on Thursday, at 12 noon ET.

Serbia, meanwhile, take on Slovenia in Munich, at 9am ET.

William Allen

Bellingham the stand-out in Gelsenkirchen

After heading in the only goal of the game, Jude Bellingham has been named Player of the Match.

William Allen
Gelsenkirchen (Germany), 16/06/2024.- Harry Kane (L) of England in action against Sergej Milinkovic Savic of Serbia during the UEFA EURO 2024 group C match between Serbia and England in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, 16 June 2024. (Alemania) EFE/EPA/GEORGI LICOVSKI


England "stood up to it well" - Kane

Speaking to the BBC, England captain Harry Kane says the Three Lions "stood up" well to the test posed by Serbia.

"It's a tough game," Kane said. "They are a tough team and have good players. We stood up to it well and it is good to get the three points and to progress. It's good that we got the win today."

William Allen

England still 100% in Southgate openers

Until Southgate took over, England had never won their opening game at a European Championship.

As at the past two World Cups, they've now opened up their last two Euros with wins.

William Allen

Another shut-out for England

Opta note that England have now kept five straight clean sheets in group-stage games at the Euros.

Defences do win tournaments, it's true; but so does not going to pieces after a promising first half.

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Well, quite.

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Take a look at the Group C standings

Here is that Group C table, with England two points clear of Denmark and Slovenia after matchday one.

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England head to the top of Group C

The mightily relieved England fans are now belting out "Sweet Caroline" in the AufSchalke Arena.

It may have ended up being a mightily unconvincing win, but it was a win nonetheless. After Denmark and Slovenia drew earlier today, England go straight to the top of Group C.

Given the way this tournament is now set up, Gareth Southgate's men are already within touching distance of the next round.

William Allen

Spanish stats guru Mister Chip notes that Bellingham has become the youngest player ever to score a winning goal at the Euros.

William Allen

Peeep peeep peeep! England begin with a win, but that second-half display just won't do. As so often has happened to the team in the past, they lost control of the game as it wore on.

William Allen

The final minute at AufSchalke Arena. Serbia lift the ball hight into the box, but with Jovic chasing after the ball, Bowen hooks it away.

Kane then wins a free-kick on the right-hand side, and England have a priceless free-kick.

William Allen

Having won the ball back, Serbia come forward in search of a leveller.

Mladenovic looks to whip a ball into the box, but Gallagher does well to get in the way.

William Allen

Now England win a free-kick midway inside the Serbian half, in the left-hand channel. A chance to run down the clock a little bit more.

William Allen

Gallagher feeds it forward to Mainoo, and wins a free-kick when he is brought down by Milinkovic-Savic a moment after playing his pass.

William Allen

That's better from England, who just shuttle it from side to side for a minute or so. Foden then wins a throw-in on the left.

Four minutes of time added on in Gelsenkirchen.

William Allen

Milinkovic-Savic tries his luck from range, but sends his strike well off target.

William Allen

Again Serbia win the ball back and come at England.

From the left, Mladenovic powers a cross into the penalty area, where it's headed away. Right away, though, it's Serbia ball once again.

William Allen

Mainoo is on, with Bellingham making for the Manchester United teenager.

England are inching towards victory, but their second-half display has fallen well short of the standards set in the opening 45.

William Allen

Kane then atones by winning a free-kick off Vlahovic on the halfway line.

England are preparing to bring on Kobbie Mainoo.

William Allen

England finally manage to keep the ball for a sustained period.

Ah, but just as I say that, Kane's ball out to the left is underhit, and Serbia win it back.

William Allen

When the Serbia corner goes in, it's momentarily cleared - before Mladenovic volleys a bouncing ball back into the box. The whistle goes for an attacking foul, and England can clear.

William Allen

Vlahovic draws a smart stop from Pickford!

Picking up a loose ball just outside of the England box, Vlahovic wraps his left foot around a powerful shot that looks to be arrowing high into the net. Pickford has too look alive to tip it over.

William Allen

England cannot lose control of games like this. It remains to be seen whether Serbia will punish them; a better team surely would.

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For now at least, Trippier is back on. Looks like something muscular.

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Oh dear. Trippier is down. England aren't exactly flush with players who can play at left-back.

Not sure exactly what is wrong with Trippier, and whether or not he'll have to come off.

William Allen

As England break, Kane touches it back to Foden - who plays a very, very sloppy pass inside. He loses it.

May well be time to get someone on for Foden.

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Kane hits the crossbar! It's an instant impact from Bowen.

The West Ham winger drives towards the right-hand byline, before whipping a cross into the Serbia area. Arriving at the back post, Kane gets a firm head to it - but Rajkovic does ever so well to push the ball onto the bar! That was so very nearly the goal England needed to settle their nerves.

William Allen

Ah, hold on, it's only one change for now. Saka is off for Jarrod Bowen.

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Tadic is booked for a foul on Bellingham.

England are preparing to make a couple of changes.

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Serbia make another change. Zivkovic is off for Birmancevic.

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Bellingham twists away from Tadic and sets off towards the Serbia box, but is pulled back by Orsato's whistle. He barged Tadic over in the process of completing his pirouette, the referee says.

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Saka lifts the ball into the Serbian box. From the back post, Rice tries to nod it back into the danger area - and when it hits off a Serbian body, England are appealing for a penalty for handball. They don't get one.

William Allen

On the left wing, Kane tumbles under Ilic's challenge and buys England a free-kick and a much-needed breather.

This is developing into a very nervy final period for the English.

William Allen

Receiving a throw-in on the right, Tadic lobs a ball into the middle of the England area. It's panic stations for a moment, with Saka furiously jumping to try and get his head to the bouncing ball, but England finally hack it away.

William Allen

Southgate does make a change, bringing on Conor Gallagher for Alexander-Arnold.

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England come back at Serbia, Bellingham picking the ball up on the left-hand byline.

He twists and turns, and twists and turns a bit more, before clipping a cross into the middle - where Rajkovic grabs hold.

William Allen

England do get out now, though, and win a corner on the right.

Alexander-Arnold delivers... but Rajkovic punches it clear.

William Allen

Now Mladenovic whips a cross into the England area, where Foden pulls it down and clears.

But back come Serbia... and if Jovic could have controlled that Tadic pass, he would have had a clear-cut chance to equalise

Tadic feeds a low ball into Jovic's run into the box, but it is just behind the striker.

England are losing control of this game, and Southgate could really do with making a change.

William Allen

With England seemingly content to sit and wait on the edge of their penalty area, Serbia pop it about in the Three Lions' half.

It's finally knocked into the box by Milinkovic-Savic, but Walker heads away.

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Serbia make a double change, replacing Mitrovic and Lukic with Luka Jovic and Dusan Tadic.

The captain's armband goes to Tadic.

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Just as I say that, Serbia get Mladenovic bursting forward down the left and into the England area

He squares towards Mitrovic's run to the near post, where the Al Hilal striker falls to the turf and wants a penalty. Serbia are claiming that Trippier shoved Mitrovic over, but no spot-kick is given.

William Allen

At least for now, England have wrested control of possession back from Serbia.

Alexander-Arnold tries to ping a long ball into Kane's run towards the penalty box, but it runs through to Rajkovic.

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Back come England, working it right to Alexander-Arnold. He slips a low ball into the danger area to Bellingham, who tries to step away from his man and into space to shoot from 12 yards. 

Unable to carve out that pocket of space, he flops to the turf in search of a penalty, but doesn't get one.

William Allen

England finally get their foot back on the ball.

Alexander-Arnold lifts a long, raking pass to Trippier, before Bellingham and Rice work it back to the Liverpool man, in shooting space. He lets fly from range, but Rajkovic beats it out!

William Allen

It's all Serbia ball right now, and their fans are making noticeably more noise.

William Allen

That's a dangerous cross from the left by Vlahovic, but Trippier does very well to control and clear from the penalty spot. Mladenovic was attacking that cross at pace at the near post, but couldn't quite connect. If he had been able to get something on it, there would very likely have been work for Pickford to do.

William Allen

Serbia have clearly been told to go harder at the England defence in the second half. They've had most of the ball so far since the break.

William Allen

Alexander-Arnold loses it in the England half, allowing Lukic to drive forward towards the penalty box. Rice is there to sweep up.

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Cutting in from the right, Zivkovic tries to barrel his way into the England box, but is muscled off it by a three-man defensive delegation.

England break quickly through Saka, but when he attempts to find Bellingham with an ambitious cross-field ball, the chance to hurt the Serbians on the counter is lost.

William Allen

Serbia begin the half with the ball. Bellingham thinks he's won a foul off Mitrovic as he tries to win it back, but Mr Orsato says play on.

England do finally win it back - and when Kane spins and tries to zip a low, diagonal ball out to the right to meet Walker's run forward, it bounces off the referee. The ball is returned to England, but the momentum has been taken right out of their move.

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Peeeep! We're back underway in Gelsenkirchen!

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Indeed: Ilic replaces Gudelj.

William Allen

The players are back out at AufSchalke Arena. It looks like Serbia are preparing to bring on Ivan Ilic.

William Allen
Why do England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland play as separate teams if they belong to UK?

By the way, if you're wondering why England are allowed to play as England at all - rather than as part of a unified UK team - let me point you in the direction of this explainer.

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Kane struggles to make impact

While it was a very promising first-half showing from England, it was noticeable to me that I wasn't typing the letters k-a-n-e very often. As this stat shows, he wasn't involved much at all.

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Header hegemony

Here's an interesting stat from Mister Chip, who notes that England have now scored more headers at the Euros - 18 - than any other country.

William Allen

Brilliant Bellingham

Not only on account of his goal, Bellingham has been a stand-out player for England in Gelsenkirchen. Our friends at SofaScore have put together these stats, which very much underline that point:

William Allen

"Most composed I have seen England play for a while"

On the BBC's coverage of the game, former England captain Rio Ferdinand has praised the controlled nature of the team's performance in that first half.

"The confidence we played with, the quality," he said. "The most composed I have seen England play for a while."

William Allen
England's midfielder #10 Jude Bellingham celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group C football match between Serbia and England at the Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen on June 16, 2024. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)


Bellingham savours his fourth goal for England in his 30th appearance for his country.

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Peeep peeep peeep! England lead at the break, thanks to Bellingham's header.

Walker came close to doubling the Three Lions' lead, while Mitrovic had the best chance for Serbia.

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Lukic gets forward and bends a ball into the six-yard box, where Stones gets himself into a mess and has to hack it behind for a corner.

The corner comes to nought, and...

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Two minutes of time added on in Gelsenkirchen.

Lukic tries to clip a ball into Vlahovic inside the England box, but the pass is well off target. Vlahovic gives Lukic a thumbs-up for the idea, but Pickford will clear.

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Serbia make that change, replacing Kostic with Filip Mladenovic.

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Serbia are yet to make that enforced change, but play is back underway. Walker and Rice engage in a slightly strange session of head tennis in the right-hand corner of the England half, and end up giving Serbia a throw-in.

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As Kostic receives treatment, all the other players take the chance to have a swig of water.

It looks like Kostic is going to have to come off.

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Another first for Bellingham.

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Kostic is down, clutching his left leg.

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Gudelj receives the first yellow card of the game, after being just beaten to the ball by Bellingham. He ends up utterly halfing the Real Madrid star, and finds his way into Mr Orsato's book.

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Kostic swings it into the area from the left, but Rice heads away.

Back come Serbia, Zivkovic scampering forwards towards the byline. He crosses low into the box, but again Rice is there to clear the danger.

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Bellingham whips a low pass out to the right to Saka, who promptly shows Pavlovic a squeaky-clean pair of heels.

Advancing into the box, Saka lays it low across the area - but it's just behind Foden!

William Allen

Milinkovic-Savic tries to feed a first-time through ball into Vlahovic's run into the box, but Rice steps across to cut it out.

The pattern of the play has very definitely shifted in the past few minutes. Much more ball for Serbia.

William Allen

Again Serbia have the ball inside the England half. Kostic delivers into the box from the left, but Bellingham is there to hook it away.

William Allen

Serbia keep the ball for what, to date, is probably their longest spell of possession.

Zivkovic finally crosses from the right, and it's delivered with plenty of whip, but Guéhi is there to head away.

William Allen

Bellingham tries to dink a ball into Saka's run into the box, but Milenkovic gets there in front of him.

A moment later, Pavlovic appears to haul Saka over deep on the right wing, but it's Saka who is penalised. For a handball, I think.

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Alexander-Arnold takes... but it ricochets off the wall and Serbia get it clear.

Right away, though, it's England ball once more.

William Allen

Gudelj is adjudged to have brought Alexander-Arnold down some 10 yards or so outside the Serbia box, and England have a very threatening free-kick chance.

Not so sure it was a foul, but there we go.

William Allen
England's midfielder #10 Jude Bellingham celebrates scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group C football match between Serbia and England at the Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen on June 16, 2024. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)


Bellingham celebrates his goal.

William Allen

But that right there is the advantage of England's early goal. Serbia now have to come out and play more on the front foot, which in turn gives England more space to break into when they win it back.

William Allen

So close to a second for England!

Alexander-Arnold cuts out a pass inside the English half, and in the blink of an eye Walker is haring forward on the right.

On and on he goes, until he's in a great position to shoot or square it from the right of the box. He sends a low ball across the face of goal, but nobody in a white shirt can get a touch on it, and it trickles past the far post and out.

William Allen

Serbia, unsurprisingly, are starting to show a little bit more attacking intent.

They work it to Vlahovic on the edge of the England box. He drops a shoulder and tries to shoot from 20 yards, but Guéhi does very well to block.

William Allen

England win a free-kick in the right-hand channel, with Alexander-Arnold to take.

He whips the ball into the middle, but when it falls to Rice, the Arsenal midfielder can't sort his feet out. He succeeds only in prodding the ball behind for a Serbia goal-kick.

William Allen

That was the first time tonight that England have been able to attack a Serbian defence that isn't in position.

At the other end, Alexander-Arnold loses it and Mitrovic has a very decent chance to equalise for Serbia! Mitrovic gets it out of his feet at the top of the box and shoots low, but his strike flies just past Pickford's left-hand post.

A let-off for England. 

William Allen

Serbia do get hold of the ball for a short while, before Vlahovic loses it. Suddenly, Foden is scampering forward towards a back-pedalling Serbian defence, with Alexander-Arnold to his right.

Foden slips it to Alexander-Arnold, but his shot is skewed well wide.

William Allen

How can Serbia respond? We've slipped right back into the routine we'd been following before the goal: pretty much all England ball.

William Allen

Will that will settle England down nicely. It was always a bit of worry that they would dominate the possession but struggle to find the breakthrough. An early goal is just the ticket for the Three Lions. 

William Allen

Goal! Serbia 0-1 England - Bellingham opens the scoring!

As he did in Qatar, Bellingham pops up with England's first goal of the tournament!

Walker opens up the Serbia defence with a low, dead-straight ball through to Saka on the right. 

Saka crosses from the byline - his ball appears to take a bit of a deflection - and it flies right onto the head of Bellingham on the penalty spot. He makes no mistake, and heads into the top corner!

William Allen

Just under 90% possession for England so far. But they're yet to really do anything with it. They need to up the tempo a little bit, I feel.

William Allen

Again Bellingham is fouled, in pretty much exactly the same position. Lukic it was who felled the Real Madrid man.

This time, England won't take it quickly. Trippier knocks it right to Walker, who lifts the ball up to Rice at the back of the box. Stones is deemed to have barged Mitrovic over, however, and Orsato blows for a free-kick to Serbia.

William Allen

Bellingham is brought down midway inside the Serbia half, and England take the free-kick quickly. 

It's worked out to the right towards Saka, but he can't gather and Kostic boots it away.

William Allen

With Serbia's back five camped along the edge of their penalty box, England continue to pop it about.

Finally, Kostic wins a throw-in off Saka, and Serbia can clear.

William Allen

There's a penetrative ball by Bellingham, but Foden can't bring it under his spell. Bellingham found Foden just inside the Serbia penalty box; had the Manchester City man been able to control, it would have been a fine shooting chance.

A moment later, Foden shoots well wide from range - and the flag was up, anyway.

William Allen

The possession count remains pretty much 100% in England's favour, but as yet they've struggled to find that zip and penetration they need.

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Alexander-Arnold's delivery is headed away, but England have possession once more.

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Saka is brought down by Milinkovic-Savic on the right, and England have a first chance to swing a dead ball into the danger area.

Alexander-Arnold to take...

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It's all England ball in the first couple of minutes. Gareth Southgate's men keep it inside the Serbian half, but don't really go anywhere with it. 

Trippier plays a loose ball that allows Serbia to clear, but England win it right back.

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Peeeep! Daniele Orsato gets us underway!

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Historic Bellingham

By the way, Jude Bellingham today becomes the first European player under 21 to play at three major tournaments.

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It's very noisy inside the AufSchalke Arena.

Almost time to go!

William Allen

Last look at the Serbia and England line-ups

So, anthems done, handshakes done. All that’s left is the coin toss, and we’ll be underway in Gelsenkirchen.

Here’s a final reminder of the teams.


Rajkovic, Milenkovic, Veljkovic, Pavlovic, Zivkovic, Gudelj, S. Milinkovic-Savic, Lukic, Kostic, Mitrovic, Vlahovic.


Pickford, Walker, Stones, Guéhi, Trippier, Alexander-Arnold, Rice, Saka, Bellingham, Foden, Kane.

William Allen

Out come the teams!

The teams make their way through the eye-catching tunnel at the AufSchalke Arena - it's designed to look like the depths of a mine - and are now out on the pitch!

Anthems time.

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Who is the VAR in Gelsenkirchen?

The video assistant referee (VAR) will also be an Italian: Massimiliano Irrati. He'll be supported by countryman Paolo Valeri and Romania’s Catalin Popa, who will be his assistant VARs.

William Allen

Who is the referee for Serbia vs England?

Italy's Daniele Orsato will be the match referee in Gelsenkirchen, with compatriots Ciro Carbone and Alessandro Giallatini his assistant referees. Slovakia’s Ivan Kruzliak is the fourth official,

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Opta backing England for victory

Opta, who as we saw earlier have chosen England as their favourites to win the tournament, are backing the Three Lions to begin with victory today.

Opta’s ‘supercomputer’ has calculated England’s chances of winning today at 61.3%. Serbia, on the other hand, are rated at 16.5% to win the game.

William Allen

What is England and Serbia's head-to-head record?

Today's Group C clash will be England and Serbia's first meeting since the latter became an independent nation.

While Serbia were still competing as Serbia and Montenegro, the teams faced off in a June 2003 friendly in Leicester, which England won 2-1.

Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole scored for the hosts, with Nenad Jestrovic netting for the visitors. That's the countries' only meeting since the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

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When is Serbia - England: how to watch on TV, stream online | EURO 2024

Incidentally, if you're wondering how you can watch today's game on TV or online, let me point you in the direction of our guide on where to tune in.

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"Happy with the balance of the team"

In the past few minutes, Southgate has been talking about the line-up he has selected tonight:

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What the coaches said: Southgate, England


“Very tough. They have good individual players, fantastic collective spirit, dangerous forwards. So we know that this is a really difficult opening game for us and we’ve got to play at our very best to win the game.”

Gareth Southgate, England head coach

England among the favourites:

“In terms of our standing, you’ve already seen Germany play the way they did [against Scotland], Spain in the first half [against Croatia] - there are a lot of good teams in this tournament. We have to be exceptional to progress firstly through the group, and then [have] the opportunity to go further.”

Gareth Southgate, England head coach

Jude Bellingham:

“He’s a young player, and one of a number of very important players in the team. So we shouldn’t be expecting him to carry the load for the rest of the team.”

Gareth Southgate, England head coach

Kane to make England history today

As noted by the BBC, Kane is to make his 23rd appearance at a major international tournament, and his 12th appearance at the Euros. Those are both England records.

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Harry Kane, Bayern Munich and England

Robin Jones / Getty Images

Hotshot Harry

While Mitrovic has a prolific scoring record for Serbia, England captain Harry Kane has an equally top-drawer goal rate for the Three Lions.

Indeed, Kane’s international record is almost identical to Mitrovic’s.

The Bayern Munich star also has 91 caps for his country, and has scored 63 goals - also a national record.

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What the coaches said: Stojkovic, Serbia

Ready for England:

“We know that we are starting with one of the favourites by playing against England, but we have really done a lot to prepare as well as possible, and I believe that our team is ready to face the challenges in front of it.

Dragan Stojkovic, Serbia head coach

"Talented" Three Lions:

“The English team is really talented, regarding the performance of Foden, Saka, Bellingham, Kane. Look, if you see Rashford, Sterling, Grealish and other guys, out of the squad, you can imagine how strong they are.”

Dragan Stojkovic, Serbia head coach

Serbia's last five results

8 June: Sweden 0-3 Serbia (friendly)
4 June: Austria 2-1 Serbia (friendly)
25 March: Cyprus 0-1 Serbia (friendly)
21 March: Russia 4-0 Serbia (friendly)
19 November: Serbia 2-2 Bulgaria (Euros qualifying)

William Allen

What is Serbia's recent form like?

Since their last competitive fixture, a 2-2 draw with Bulgaria, it’s been a mixed bag for Serbia in their warm-up friendlies.

They were walloped 4-0 by Russia in March, and beaten 2-1 by Austria earlier this month. What's more, they only managed a 1-0 win over Cyprus, a team currently 91 places below them in the FIFA world rankings, three months ago.

However, the Serbians completed their preparations for the Euros with a 3-0 win over Sweden last weekend, thanks to goals by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Tadic.

William Allen
Aleksandar Mitrovic

Abdul Ghani Bashir Issa/MB Media / Getty Images

Mighty Mitrovic

For Serbia, striker Aleksandar Mitrovic wins his 92nd cap today. He has a hugely impressive scoring record for his national team.

The former Newcastle and Fulham man has a Serbian-record 58 goals in his 91 games for the side so far. That tally includes 21 in 23 competitive fixtures under Stojkovic.

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Violent clashes erupt in Gelsenkirchen as English, Serbian, and Albanian fans confront each other

Unfortunately, and extremely depressingly, there has been trouble in Gelsenkirchen ahead of today's game.

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Danes held by Slovenia

This isn't the first match to be played in Group C, by the way.

Earlier today, Denmark and Slovenia opened up the section with a 1-1 draw in Stuttgart. Christian Eriksen gave the Danes the lead, only for Erik Janza to secure a point for the Slovenians.

That result, of course, means that top spot is up for grabs in Gelsenkirchen.

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Can Serbia end knockouts hoodoo?

Since ending their union with Montenegro in 2006, Serbia are yet to make knockouts of any major tournament.

Although this is their first Euros, the Serbians have qualified for three World Cups as an independent nation - in 2010, 2018 and 2022. They have gone out in the group stage each time.

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FR Yugoslavia's historic Euros exit

If you include the period when the nation was part of FR Yugoslavia - which then became known as Serbia and Montenegro - England’s opponents were last at the Euros in 2000.

With Stojokvic in their squad, they reached the quarter-finals in Belgium and the Netherlands - before suffering a record-breaking, 6-1 thumping by the Dutch. They are the only side in the history of the Euros finals to concede six goals in a game.

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How did Serbia qualify for Euro 2024?

As I mentioned earlier, Serbia are making their debut at the Euros as an independent nation.

Stojkovic’s men qualified as runners-up in Group G, behind Hungary.

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Confirmed Serbia line-up

Serbia boss Dragan Stojkovic has opted for the following line-up: Rajkovic, Milenkovic, Veljkovic, Pavlovic, Zivkovic, Gudelj, S. Milinkovic-Savic, Lukic, Kostic, Mitrovic, Vlahovic.

No place in the XI for Dusan Tadic, which is a surprise.

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TAA set to partner Rice in England engine room

As widely rumoured in recent days, it looks like Gareth Southgate has picked Trent Alexander-Arnold to accompany Declan Rice in the centre of England's midfield.

Alexander-Arnold's introduction is one of four changes that the England boss has made to the team that lost to Iceland. No. 1 keeper Jordan Pickford is back in goal, while Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka return to the forward line.

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England line-up confirmed

Gareth Southgate has named his XI for England's opener. He has gone with: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Guéhi, Trippier, Alexander-Arnold, Rice, Saka, Bellingham, Foden, Kane.

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Gareth Southgate, seleccionador de Inglaterra, durante un partido.

Gareth Southgate, seleccionador de Inglaterra, durante un partido. / GLYN KIRK / AFP

That said, England do have a 100% record in major-tournament opening games under Gareth Southgate

The Three Lions began their 2018 World Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Tunisia, before their aforementioned victory over Croatia at Euro 2020. At the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, England opened up with a 6-2 thrashing of Iran.

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Will England avoid opening-night blues?

It should also be noted that England's overall record in opening games at the Euros is not good.

Their 1-0 victory over Croatia three years ago is the only time they have begun with a win in their 10 previous appearances at the tournament finals.

William Allen

What are England's last five results?

7 June: England 0-1 Iceland (friendly)
3 June: England 3-0 Bosnia-Herzegovina (friendly)
26 March: England 2-2 Belgium (friendly)
23 March: England 0-1 Brazil (friendly)
20 November: North Macedonia 1-1 England (Euros qualifier)

William Allen
England's midfielder #10 Phil Foden reacts during the International friendly football match between England and Iceland at Wembley Stadium in London on June 7, 2024. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE


Iceland ruin Euros send-off

What’s more, England’s recent form has been less than stellar. They were unbeaten in Euro 2024 qualification, winning their group ahead of defending champions Italy - but have now managed just one win in their last five games in all competitions.

Most notably, England slumped to shock 1-0 home defeat to Iceland in their tournament final warm-up just over a week ago. Given what happened in 2016, that’s an omen we really could have done without.

William Allen
England's head coach Gareth Southgate oversees a training session during the UEFA Euro 2024 European football Championship, in Blankenhain, eastern Germany on June 15, 2024. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)


England's backline causing concern

Despite England’s evident attacking riches, their defence is rightly a worry.

With Harry Maguire ruled out of the Euros, Gareth Southgate is expected to field a less-than-tried-and-tested centre-back partnership. The inexperienced Marc Guéhi is set to play alongside John Stones - a player who has been suffering from illness in recent days.

Meanwhile, Luke Shaw is the only recognised left-back in the England squad, and is returning from a hamstring injury. He hasn’t played since February. With Shaw not ready to start, the right-footed Kieran Trippier is set to operate on the left of the defence.

William Allen

England boast some stellar talent...

It's true that England do boast the best player in the Premier League and the best player in LaLiga

Phil Foden was named Premier League Player of the Season after leading Manchester City to a fourth straight English title in 2023/24, and Jude Bellingham was selected as LaLiga Player of the Season after a terrific first year at Real Madrid.

Bellingham scored 19 league goals as Madrid won their 36th Spanish championship, and starred for Los Blancos as they lifted the European Cup for a record-extending 15th time.

What's more, England also have the European Golden Shoe winner in their ranks. Harry Kane secured last season’s award, given to the leading marksman in the continent’s league game, after scoring 36 goals in 32 Bundesliga appearances in his maiden campaign at Bayern Munich.

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Opta opting for English ecstasy at the Euros

Opta are also backing England to win the Euros. According to the stats specialists, Southgate’s side have a 19.9% chance of trophy success in Germany this summer.

As in the betting odds, the English are placed just ahead of France, who are given a 19.1% chance of lifting their third continental crown.

William Allen

Bookies backing England for success

Appearing at their 11th Euros finals, England are the bookmakers’ favourites to lift the Henri Delaunay in a month’s time.

Per Oddschecker, the Three Lions are rated at +350 to win the tournament, just ahead of France and Germany, who are both priced at +400.

William Allen

Serbia vs England live online: welcome!


So, England begin their bid to go one better than three years ago, when they were a penalty shootout away from lifting their first major trophy since 1966. (Unless you count Le Tournoi, and at this stage I’m minded to.)

Gareth Southgate’s men face Serbia, who are competing at the Euros for the first time as an independent nation.

Kick-off in Gelsenkirchen is at 3pm ET/12 noon PT.

William Allen