Jude Bellingham Shines Bright as England Secures Victory in Euro 2024 Opener

Jude Bellingham proved why he is considered pivotal to England’s Euro 2024 campaign, delivering a masterclass performance that led to a 1-0 triumph over Serbia.

Bellingham, who has been hailed as one of the world’s top young talents, showcased his prowess with the decisive goal in England’s Group C opener at the Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen.

Jude Bellingham Shines Bright as England Secures Victory in Euro 2024 Opener
Jude Bellingham, who led England ahead of Serbia, celebrates. Photo Credit: Sky Sports

England now leads Group C following Sunday’s 1-1 draw between Denmark and Slovenia. With a 1-0 victory over Serbia on Sunday, Jude Bellingham’s strong first-half header put England on the road to a good start to their Euro 2024 campaign. Although the Three Lions started the game with confidence, they ultimately had to hang on for the point.

In the thirteenth minute, the 20-year-old midfielder Bukayo Saka’s deflected cross floated across the box perfectly for the great Bellingham to connect with and put the runners-up of Euro 2020 ahead from close range.

With his own move for the lone goal, Bellingham set the tone for much of England’s offensive play and his name was yelled by an army of Three Lions supporters to the ceiling of the enormous Arena AufSchalke.

Attack-minded Gareth Southgate’s side first created space down the right when Saka connected with Kyle Walker, the full back, whose powerful runs threatened to increase England’s lead.

After the interval, though, England lost much of their earlier fluidity and Serbia started to pose a threat. Opta statistics indicates that the 11 shots at the end of the game—six from Serbia and five from England—were the fewest in a European Championship game since at least 1980. When reporters questioned Bellingham if England’s lack of momentum meant the team was still developing, Bellingham disputed this.

He remarked, “I don’t agree with that.” “I think the first half shows why we can score goals against any team and the second half shows why we can keep a clean sheet against any team.”

After replacing defensive midfielder Nemanja Gudelj with Ivan Ilic at the beginning of the second half, Serbia stepped up their play, and soon after, striker Dusan Vlahovic swept a cross dangerously across England’s box, thrilling their supporters.

After a little more than an hour of play, Dusan Tadic and Luka Jovic came off the bench as Serbian coach Dragan Stojkovic intensified his shift to a more offensive lineup.In response, Southgate brought on the tireless Conor Gallagher, who took Trent Alexander-Arnold’s place in an unfamiliar midfield role.

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In the 77th minute, Jarrod Bowen, another substitute, sent a precise cross for captain Harry Kane, whose header goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic deflected onto the bar. Serbia continued to apply pressure, and five minutes later Jordan Pickford brilliantly parried a hard shot from Vlahovic.

However, England held out for the victory behind an unfamiliar-looking defense that included right-footed Kieran Trippier filling in for left back and the outstanding Marc Guehi, making his major tournament debut.

Kane conceded that England’s performance was not a classic. “A well-earned victory overall. It’s all about going through,” the captain of England remarked. “There was a spell in the second half where we got camped in our box and we found it hard to get out but it was an important win tonight.”

After Serbia’s match against Slovenia on Thursday, England will play Denmark.

Bellingham was outstanding in England's opening match. Photo Credit: Sky Sports
Manager of England, Gareth Southgate, stated:

“As a team, we played excellent defense. Because of the short amount of 90 minutes that our players have had, I wasn’t surprised when our team ran out of energy. We were assisted by the substitutes. We can, in my opinion, play more efficiently than we did in the first half, which will benefit us going forward.”

On Alexander-Arnold:

“Although he hasn’t played this role much previously, he displayed excellent discipline and flashed flashes of his incredible passing range. In this capacity, we’re learning alongside him, and he demonstrated some of the qualities we value. We will be portraying a youthful or unskilled player in that role, whatever we choose to play. It was wonderful to witness him pass this exam.”

On Kane: 

It didn’t feel necessary for everyone to be involved in the game because we had so many alternatives and were in charge. He was amazing in the second half as he held the ball up and forced fouls to relieve pressure. He remained silent for the first part of the game, but we had total control when Phil skillfully filled in the blanks.

“He performed admirably in the second half when we were having trouble, and his technical ball-holding abilities was quite beneficial. This group is still gelling as a unit. Though everyone anticipates a waltz, there is still a lot of work to be done. We’re searching for answers because we’re lacking in several areas. Despite our challenging journey to the tournament, there was a strong spirit there, and we will continue to improve.

Harry Kane, Captain of England, stated:

“We anticipated a difficult game. Serbia is a dangerous country. incredibly physical. I felt we handled it fairly effectively. We deserved to win overall. The troop is just making it through.

“Jude is an amazing athlete. He is deserving of every accolade, the assurance he exudes when playing, and the way he influences games. For players in his position, getting goals and assists is crucial. He did a good job tying things up.”

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