Gareth Southgate singles out two England stars for praise after Euro 2020 win over Croatia

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Gareth Southgate praised Raheem Sterling and Kalvin Phillips for their parts in England’s opening Euro 2020 victory over Croatia. 

Sterling scored the only goal midway through the second half. 

The Manchester City forwarded collected Calvin Phillips’ pass and finished. 

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It is the first time that England have won their opening match of a European Championship in 10 attempts. 

“I think that Kalvin is a player who is so understated and who has had a fantastic start to his international career,” Southgate told the BBC after the Three Lions’ win. 

“He was immense throughout the game, as they all were. 

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“I’m so pleased for Raheem. He’s had this hex, if you like, at tournaments with not being able to get a goal. 

“I thought he was dangerous with his play. Right from the start, there was a throw-in inside and he was running at their defence and he looked a threat.

“He had a big influence.

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“He’s a good player. His goalscoring record shows that we should have faith in him, especially in the last few years. 

Southgate believes that his side have provided a positive boost for the country. 

“It’s lovely to have given our fans and our country a really enjoyable afternoon” Southgate added.

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“The players dealt with the occasion really well, right from the start.

“They did well and they settled really early in the game. There were moments when the tempo dropped just because of the heat.

“But the majority of the game, we controlled. We created a couple of good opportunities.

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“The back line did really well. Croatia… We wanted to get pressure on their midfield players, especially. 

“We managed to do that and it limits some of the supply. The back line dealt with a lot of balls well.

“I felt that everybody who went onto the pitch performed well and that was set up by the whole group over the last two weeks.”

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