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England 1-0 Croatia LIVE! Sterling goal; Euros result, highlights, latest news and reaction from Southgate

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 6/13/2021 Malik Ouzia,Dan Kilpatrick and James Robson
a group of people on a court: sterling130621a © Getty Images sterling130621a

LIVE – Updated at 19:43

England vs Croatia – LIVE!

England have won their opening game at a European Championships for the first time ever after Raheem Sterling’s goal earned a 1-0 triumph over Croatia.

Phil Foden hit the post inside the opening five minutes as England flew out of the traps against the side that had knocked them out of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

They had to wait until just before the hour-mark for the goal to finally come, though, as Sterling was played in behind by the oustanding Kalvin Phillips and the Manchester City man justified his inclusion by Gareth Southgate with a smart finish.

Southgate had sprung a few surprises with his team selection, including starting Kieran Trippier as a left-back, but he was rewarded with a professional display.

The Three Lions are now well on course to reach the last-16 ahead of Friday night’s massive derby game against Scotland back at Wembley.

Follow the game LIVE on Standard Sport’s dedicated blog below...

Key Points

  • GOAL! Sterling breaks deadlock
  • England ratings: Phillips MOM
  • Sterling: I always said I’d score at Wembley in a tournament
  • POST! Foden denied early on
  • MISS! Kane denied at back post

England 1 - 0 Croatia

You love to see it

19:43 , Malik Ouzia

Neville: Our best asset is our manager

19:21 , Malik Ouzia

Gary Neville has just been on ITV discussing England’s win and has been heaping praise on Gareth Southgate...

“I was shocked by the inclusion of Trippier at left-back like most people but not in a doubting way because I don’t doubt the manager. I think we’ve got an outstanding international manager who’s got unbelievable experience.

“There are a lot of things that I would have said historically would have gone against England today. Two-o’clock kick-off, 30 degrees, paying against a team that passed us off the park in the last tournament, an experienced team. Not having his best defender, not having his best team.

“I thought he managed that game unbelievably today. You talk about who the best player was, it might be Kalvin Phillips or Raheem Sterling but our biggest asset is our manager. The clamour in the past would have been for Grealish and he didn’t even bring him off the bench. So, he’s willing to make the unpopular decisions, ones that some of us ultimately, at times, don’t think he should make because he knows that group better than anyone. He knows how to get a performance and a result better than anyone.

“He’s had seven or eight tournaments now, as a coach now, with the U21s, as a player. He’s vastly experienced and I feel really comfortable with him there, as an England fan, and what he did today was really good.”

18:44 , Malik Ouzia

And here is Sime Vrsaljko, talking about his failure to track Raheem Sterling for the crucial goal.

“For a moment I lost sight of what was going on, I just saw Sterling get on the end of a through ball and tried to slide in but I am baffled how he was able to get ahead of me,” he said.

“We knew it was going to be tough and we soaked up a lot of pressure early on. I am not going to say we were a disaster but we have to do better than this.”

Some reaction from the Croatia camp now...

18:19 , Malik Ouzia

Here’s Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic...

“We made a mistake that we’ve trained for a whole week to avoid,” the 54-year old said.

“I congratulate the English but I have no complaints about how my lads performed. We’ll move on, our goal remains to reach the knockout stage and I am confident that we have it in us.”

A special day for those making their tournament bows

17:54 , Malik Ouzia

And speaking of Trippier, Gareth Southgate has been explaining his inclusion

17:32 , Malik Ouzia

“We felt that his talking across the backline and his ability to get out and stop crosses quickly and his experience on a day like today - alongside Tyrone Mings, who is relatively early in his international career - would be a good stabilising element.

“He is a very underrated player. People are still looking at the player from a few years ago and not at the one who is at Atletico Madrid and playing like a warrior in the last few seasons. He is a big part of what we’ve done over the last few years and he gave a really good performance.”

Here’s Kieran Trippier talking to the BBC...

17:16 , Malik Ouzia

“No nerves. We’re a confident group. We believe in our own ability and as a team. We had to keep in our shape and keep it tight. We tried to counter as quickly as we could. I thought we limited their chances. The most important thing is the three points and a clean sheet. We look forward to the next game.”

The boy from Brent

17:11 , Malik Ouzia
17:06 , Malik Ouzia

Just Jesse Lingard watching the game in a Declan Rice shirt with a parrot on his shoulder...

So what’s next?

16:49 , Malik Ouzia

The way this tournament is set up, England may well have enough points to see them through already, but they’ll be after far more than that.

That huge game against Scotland at Wembley on Friday night is set up perfectly now - win that and England will be romping into the knockout stages with some real momentum behind them.

Sterling: We’ve got to use home advantage

16:39 , Malik Ouzia

“It’s a great feeling for me, I played in Wembley, not far from where I grew up. It’s great to get on the scoresheet. Most importantly I thought the team played brilliantly at times. With the weather we dug in. I don’t know if it’s pressure in front of your own crowd. You’ve got people supporting you. It was a great feeling coming from the hotel. We’ve got to use it to our advantage.

“It’s great to break that duck. The most important thing is to win here. I am a person who’s hungry for goals. But I know the true value of the team. It’s not conditions we’re used to. We dug in. I blocked the outside world off. I just try to focus on the tournament. I’m fully focused on the team. I haven’t listened to any of the outside noise.”

a group of people playing football on a field:  (Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard (Getty Images)

And more from Southgate, on Raheem Sterling

16:31 , Malik Ouzia

“I’m so pleased for Raheem. He’s had this hex, if you like, in tournaments, where he couldn’t quite get the goal but I thought he was dangerous all day, right from the start.

“He’s a good player and his goalscoring record suggests we should have faith with him, especially in the last few years. He was motivated to show that and for him and everybody we know we’re going to need the depth, all those attacking players, there are a few who didn’t get on today.”

Here is the England manager, Gareth Southgate

16:27 , Malik Ouzia

“It’s lovely to have given fans and our country such an enjoyable afternoon. The players dealt with big occasion really well, the incredible heat, settled really well early.

“There were moments where the tempo dropped because of the heat but I thought that for the majority of the game we were in control, we didn’t give them many opportunities and always looked dangerous.”

On Kalvin Phillips’ display - “Kalvin is a player who is so understated and has had  a fantastic start to his international career. I thought he was immense throughout the game.”

Tyrone Mings has also been speaking to the BBC after a solid display

16:16 , Malik Ouzia

“It’s a dream come true to play in a major tournament for England and I loved every second of it.

“It’s probably the hottest game I have ever played in!

“The team showed a lot of grit, a lot of determination and a lot of quality.

“I’ve watched a few tournaments and it seems a lot more straight forward watching them than playing in them. Croatia are a top team as we found out before. We always have quality to trouble teams.”

And here is Kalvin Phillips...

16:13 , Malik Ouzia

“It was very enjoyable, really warm for a start, and it took a toll towards the end. It’s a great result and I’m very happy with the performance but there are two more group games left and we know we need to be as good as that again.

On the assist for the goal - “It’s a nice feeling. Raheem said as soon as we finished celebrating it was the first time I’ve found him with a pass since I started coming away with England!”

On partnership with Rice - “I love playing with Declan, I love playing in that role when I have a bit of licence to go forward and I know he’s behind me backing me up if I get beat.”

Phillips man of the match

16:04 , Malik Ouzia

Dan Kilpatrick has rated England’s players at Wembley, and here’s what he said about Kalvin Phillips...

Kalvin Phillips 9

England’s standout player. The architect of Sterling’s goal with a fine through ball and won every 50:50 while proving a threat going forward. Even tested goalkeeper with a volley early on.

You can read the full piece here.

a man throwing a ball:  (POOL/AFP via Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

A beaming Raheem Sterling has been speaking to the BBC...

15:58 , Malik Ouzia

“It feels good. I’ve always said if i play at Wembley in a major tournament I’m scoring, I have to score. It’s great to do that.

“There are a lot of different reasons I haven’t been scoring for my club and that’s irrelevant now, Im here with England, enjoying my football.

“It’s great to get off to a win, that’s the most important thing. It’s been a long season for me but I couldn’t wait to get here, to get started with England.”

Dan Kilpatrick is at Wembley

15:55 , Malik Ouzia
15:54 , Malik Ouzia

Gareth Southgate is out there applauding all four corners of the ground. They weren’t always in full voice at Wembley, a few nervy moments, but what a treat to have fans in. Hopefully we’ll get even more as the tournament goes on.

Ah, and there are the first notes of Three Lions...

15:52 , Malik Ouzia

We’ll have all the reaction from Wembley as we get it...

15:51 , Malik Ouzia

Kalvin Phillips has a beaming smile on his face. A big high five between Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland. England are off to a perfect start.

FULL-TIME | England 1-0 Croatia

15:50 , Malik Ouzia

For the first time ever, England win their opening group game at a European Championships.

Get in.

15:49 , Malik Ouzia

90+3 mins: Hoisted into the England box, flicked on, and gathered by Pickford. Solid.

15:47 , Malik Ouzia

90+2 mins: It’ll be Raheem Sterling, perhaps the match-winner, who makes way to a standing ovation. Calvert-Lewin is on for the last few minutes.

15:46 , Malik Ouzia

90+1 mins: There’ll be four minutes added...

15:45 , Malik Ouzia

89 mins: Dominic Calvert-Lewin is being prepped, probably as much to help defend ball’s into the England box as to damage in the Croatian one.

15:44 , Malik Ouzia

88 mins: Raheem Sterling has taken the captain’s armband and is back doing the dirty defensive work, shielding the ball out for a goal-kick.

He’s been excellent - Southgate’s faith firmly justified.

James Robson is at Wembley

15:42 , Malik Ouzia

Southgate said he would protect Kane more and he’s taken his captain off, with the game still very much alive. England will need to use him better as this tournament goes on.

He has been largely anonymous today, not helped by a lack of service and the impression he needs to drop deep to help create openings. They have enough creative forces out there to allow him to concentrate on the box.

15:41 , Malik Ouzia

85 mins: Final Croatian change. Mario Pasalic is on for Mateo Kovacic. Can England see this out?

15:38 , Malik Ouzia

83 mins: Kane really hasn’t been in the game so you can see why that’s the switch. Rashford will go up front, Mount onto the wing and Bellingham will put an extra body into midfield.

15:38 , Malik Ouzia

82 mins: Phwoar, what a moment this is. Jude Bellingham, 17 years of age, is about to become the youngest man to ever play in a European Championship. Interestingly, it’s Harry Kane who will make way.

15:34 , Malik Ouzia

78 mins: This has got the makings of a nervy finish unless England get another on the break, because they’re retreating deeper and deeper. Bruno Petkovic is on for Ante Rebic up top for Croatia.

James Robson is at Wembley

15:32 , Malik Ouzia

A smart move bringing Rashford on new against tired Croatian legs and with the possibility of hitting them on the break.Foden made a blistering start, but he has tailed off.

With the amount of attacking depth England have, perhaps everyone but Kane can expect to be in and out as this tournament progresses.

15:31 , Malik Ouzia

76 mins: John Stones is down needing a bit of treatment so Ben White is out warming up. I think it might just be a bit of cramp and it gives everyone else a chance to grab a drink.

15:31 , Malik Ouzia

74 mins: Chance. Trippier’s deep free-kick is nodded back to Sterling in loads of space on the edge but he’s on his weaker left-foot and the ball is only ever ending up in the stands.

15:29 , Malik Ouzia

73 mins: A bit too calm for my liking here as Walker decides to just hold off Perisic and let the ball bounce for Pickford to collect in the six-yard box, rather than head clear himself.

15:26 , Malik Ouzia

70 mins: Yep, Vlasic replaces Brozovic, while Josip Brekalo is on from Kramaric. For England, Phil Foden’s afternoon is done and Marcus Rashford is on. He gets a superb reception.

Dan Kilpatrick is at Wembley

15:25 , Malik Ouzia

Mount’s pressing is causing Croatia all sorts of problems since the goal and the Chelsea playmaker was just inches from doubling their lead with a free-kick. England are preparing to send on Rashford which will give the visitors something else to worry about.

15:24 , Malik Ouzia

68 mins: No changes yet, which is a surprise, but we’re about to see the first wave. Marcus Rashford is ready for England, looks like Vlasic for Croatia.

15:23 , Malik Ouzia

67 mins: Effort. Mount steps up and takes himself and tries to whip one ‘keeper’s side. Just not quite enough dip.

15:22 , Malik Ouzia

66 mins: And now the English threat on the break is growing. Mount robs Brozovic and romps away until being hauled back by the same player, who is booked, right on the edge of the box.

15:21 , Malik Ouzia

65 mins: Massive chance for Croatia. Kovacic’s volley is blocked by Stones but only ricocets to Rebic, who drags his effort well wide. Credit Stones and Walker for getting out to him sharply, but he should have done better.

Here’s how Raheem Sterling opened the scoring...

15:20 , Malik Ouzia

James Robson is at Wembley

15:19 , Malik Ouzia

When England up the pace in the final third, Croatia really do struggle to live with them. Sterling’s burst saw him run clear for his goal and we’ve just seen Mount’s drive down the left almost get Kane in for a second. They didn’t do enough of that after their opening 15-minute flurry, but we can see how effective it is.

15:19 , Malik Ouzia

63 mins: Kane is back up and back on. Probably just a bit winded.

15:18 , Malik Ouzia

61 mins: And suddenly what had become a bit of a subdued affair is bouncing again.

Sterling feeds Mount on the overlap and Kane looks certain to finish at the back post but Caleta-Car does enough to put him off. Kane has absolutely clattered the post though and he loks in real pain as he recieves treatment.

15:15 , Malik Ouzia

59 mins: Plenty of debate about the team that Gareth Southgate put out today, but Raheem Sterling has rewarded his manager’s loyalty with a first major tournament goal.

GOAL! | England 1-0 Croatia | Raheem Sterling 57'

15:12 , Malik Ouzia


They’ve got going now alright! And it’s no surprise that it’s Kalvin Phillips, the best player on the park, who has made it.

A great forward run, he’s fed by Walker and then weaves between two to slip in Sterling. I thought he’d dwelt too long as he lets it run across him and a defender is getting round on the cover but he gets there first and slots home! Lift off!

15:11 , Malik Ouzia

55 mins: Jordan Pickford’s first proper save is a pretty simple one as Modric drills straight at him from long range. England haven’t really got going since the break.

15:09 , Malik Ouzia

53 mins: All just a little bit slow and lethargic from Harry Kane at the moment. He gave the ball away cheaply a few moments ago and now tries to slide Sterling in with a reverse pass but sees it comfortably intercepted.

15:06 , Malik Ouzia

50 mins: Very shaky indeed. Kieran Trippier tries to nod a long kick back to Pickford, unaware that Rebic is in an offside position and is suddenly activated. Luckily, Pickford comes charging out and gets there first to clear.

15:04 , Malik Ouzia

48 mins: Mateo Kovacic is in the book for a crunching tackle on his Chelsea teammate Mason Mount after overrunning the ball.

15:02 , Malik Ouzia

46 mins: Bit of a shaky start as Stones nudges back to Mings and his clearance is charged down by Perisic, before looping up to Pickford.


15:01 , Malik Ouzia

None for Croatia either. We’re back underway...

15:00 , Malik Ouzia

The teams are on their way back out at Wembley. Doesn’t look like any changes to the England side at this point.

14:55 , Malik Ouzia

The benches will be key throughout this tournament but in this weather even more so. I suspect we’ll see both Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish at some point, possibly Luke Shaw and Jude Bellingham, too.

James Robson is at Wembley

14:52 , Malik Ouzia

England ran out of steam and ideas after about 25 minutes, which is concerning. Croatia have posed little threat and England’s pace behind still looks like their best chance of opening up their opponents, but Kane cannot get into the game and that should be a priority for Southgate.

Dan Kilpatrick is at Wembley

14:48 , Malik Ouzia

England made a blistering start, with Foden & Phillips going close, but have faded. Weathered England fans might fear they’ve seen this game before but there’s plenty of ammo on the bench for Southgate.

14:48 , Malik Ouzia

A very bright start from England that petered out a little bit as the game became more even, but they still look far more dangerous.

Sterling, Mount and Foden have been lively, while Phillips has been the best player on the park. The two full-backs haven’t covered themselves in glory and Harry Kane has struggled to get into the game.

HALF-TIME | England 0-0 Croatia

14:45 , Malik Ouzia

Goalless at the break.

14:45 , Malik Ouzia

45 mins: Fair play to Tyrone Mings, who came in from some criticism after the warm-up games but has looked solid so far today. He steps out to make a crucial interception to deny Perisic and gets a free-kick for his troubles.

14:43 , Malik Ouzia

43 mins: Oof, it is Trippier and it looks good off the boot but the wall jumps and it hits Perisic right on the top of the head. Good work from the Croatian.

14:42 , Malik Ouzia

42 mins: Mings hits the long one again and Croatia are all over the place, they can’t hope with Sterling. Well, they can, but only Caleta-Car has nearly caught it. England free-kick, right on the edge.


14:40 , Malik Ouzia

40 mins: Kyle Walker’s having a tough afternoon. Phillips hits another lovely ball up the line for the full-back, who, I think, is trying to win a corner as he hammers the ball but misses the Croatian defender and it flies behind for a goal-kick.

14:37 , Malik Ouzia

37 mins: Nice from Sterling, who spins and drives past two black shirts like they aren’t there. He nudges in to Foden, who feels he’s fouled on the edge of the box but there’s nothing doing.

14:34 , Malik Ouzia

34 mins: Really slopp again from Kyle Walker. Phillips rakes a ball up the line and Foden kills it with a terrific touch before laying back to Walker, who tries to return it but again passes it straight off the pitch.

Dan Kilpatrick is at Wembley

14:32 , Malik Ouzia

England have lost a touch of that early intensity, illustrated by Walker sending a simple pass directly out of play. Croatia are trying to go wide and get crosses into the box but England’s newlook defence is relatively untroubled so far.

14:32 , Malik Ouzia

32 mins: Croatia are enjoying their best little spell of the game here. England struggling to keep hold of it for the first time and Modric’s influence growing.

14:30 , Malik Ouzia

30 mins: Bizarre as Walker passes straight off the pitch, with Trippier calling for the ball about five yards away and another five yards from where the ball went out.

14:27 , Malik Ouzia

28 mins: Just a first little warning for England. Vrsaljko’s cross finds its way through to Perisic, who has swing with his weaker right foot and skies it miles over.

14:27 , Malik Ouzia

27 mins: I’ve also just noticed that Gareth Southgate isn’t wearing that dreadful get-up he had on in the friendlies. He’s got a very nice suit on today.

a person wearing a suit and tie:  (POOL/AFP via Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
14:24 , Malik Ouzia

24 mins: Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic have looked their usual composed selves in possesion but they’ve been bypassed without the ball and plenty of their teammates look a bit shaky.

14:20 , Malik Ouzia

21 mins: Attack vs defence at the moment. Mount clips a terrific ball into the channel for Sterling, who turns and tries to find Foden at the back post but there’s not quite enough on the cross.

James Robson is at Wembley

14:19 , Malik Ouzia

Very bright from England so far. Croatia don’t like Foden running at them or Sterling running beyond them. Phillips is bossing midfield and Mount is everywhere.

Not to be too pessimistic, but it’s worth remembering England were very bright in the first half of the World Cup semi-final as well, but didn’t make that count.

14:19 , Malik Ouzia

19 mins: More aggresive stuff from Phillips, but this time he brings Kovacic down. Phil Foden, by the way, is playing from the right, with Sterling on the left, though Mount is drifting out there a lot, too.

Dan Kilpatrick is at Wembley

14:17 , Malik Ouzia

Croatia are trying to get a foot on the ball and take the sting out of the game because England threatened overrun them in the first 10 minutes. Southgate looks to have got the balance of his midfield right on the evidence of the start, with Rice and Phillips providing a solid platform for the rest.

14:17 , Malik Ouzia

16 mins: Kalvin Phillips has made an oustanding start. He’s had that effort already but has also broken up play and won it back on the edge of the Croatia box a couple of times to keep the pressure on.

14:14 , Malik Ouzia

14 mins: We really are playing at walking pace at times here, at least until either side gets the ball higher up the pitch. It is boiling.

Here’s how close Phil Foden came...

14:13 , Malik Ouzia
14:12 , Malik Ouzia

11 mins: England are all over Croatia here. Pickford’s huge kick cause problems and Kane eventually brings it down and lays off to Foden.

It shoutl be a simple cut-back really to Mount who is in space on the edge of the box but Foden overhits it and the opening is gone.

14:09 , Malik Ouzia

9 mins: Bright from England. Mount and Sterling combine down the left in a tight spot and the latter eventually gets on the end of Kane’s pass in behind but the angle closes against him and it’s the home side’s first corner.

Interesting that Mount, not Trippier takes it, and the first ball is cleared as far as Phillips, who hammers a sweet effort back in first time but the Livakovic is down to save.

James Robson is at Wembley

14:08 , Malik Ouzia

That’s what Foden can do. In the blink of an eye he almost put England ahead. Put him one on one against a defender in the box and they will be terrified to go near him. So unlucky to see that effort come off the post.

14:06 , Malik Ouzia

6 mins: Off the post!

Almost a dream start for England and for Phil Foden in tournament football.

Raheem Sterling picks it up on the break and drives at the backline before feeding Foden, who dips inside onto his left foot and curls at the far corner. The ‘keeper is well beaten but the ball clangs back off the upright.

14:03 , Malik Ouzia

3 mins: No surprise really, given the conditions, but there isn’t much of a Croatia press on when the England back four are on the ball. They’re waiting until it goes into midfield to pounce.

14:00 , Malik Ouzia

1 min: As expected, some boos around Wembley as England take the knee at kick-off but there was also an awful lot more cheering and applause.


14:00 , Malik Ouzia

We are underway at Wembley!

13:57 , Malik Ouzia

Makes the hairs on your neck stand up. Nothing quite like the start of a major tournament. Kick-off is moments away...

13:56 , Malik Ouzia

And now, England...

13:55 , Malik Ouzia

National anthem time, starting with Croatia.

13:55 , Malik Ouzia

Here come England, led out by Harry Kane. What a noise to greet them.

13:52 , Malik Ouzia

The players are in the tunnel. Remarkably, Croatia have got what look like waterproof warm-up jacket on. It is knocking on 30 degrees out there, without a cloud in the sky.

13:50 , Malik Ouzia

Right then, how are the nerves? Okay?

Mine? It’s not about me...

Kick-off is ten minutes away. Come on England.

Gareth Southgate also touched on yesterday’s events involving Christian Eriksen

13:47 , Malik Ouzia

“Firstly, we hope he is recovering well and our thoughts are with him, his family and his team-mates, who I thought were incredible as well, and everybody involved with Denmark.

“We have players who are close to him, have played with him, and it was difficult for them to watch. Thankfully, the news sounds positive.”

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Gareth Southgate has been speaking to the BBC

13:40 , Malik Ouzia

“We’re very focused on today’s game, we’ve prepared tactically for the game and we know everybody around us is hugely excited and the players are as well, and us as coaches, but we have to focus on the performance.

On Trippier at left-back - “With Kieran, we feel he’s a very experienced player, good with his one-vs-one defending to stop crosses coming in and his communication and experience will help us, we’ve got changes in the backline.

On leaving out Chilwell and Sancho - “It’s just unfortunate and we have to balance cover for certain positions. I don’t like the fact we’re having to leave players out of the squad in a major tournament, it’s not fair on them.”

On Foden and Sterling starts - “That was our front six in the games in March and we had some continuity in that, they got some understanding. “We’ve got quality to come from the bench. Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford have been pushing to start.”

Lots of famous support for Gareth and the boys today

13:34 , Malik Ouzia

Standard Sport’s James Robson and Dan Kilpatrick are in position

13:32 , Malik Ouzia

Gazza - sorry, Phil Foden - is out warming up in the Wembley sun

13:31 , Malik Ouzia a man with a football ball on a field:  (AFP via Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard (AFP via Getty Images)

Key workers fill Trafalgar Square fan park

13:24 , Malik Ouzia

Scores of key workers have begun to arrive at the specially-designated fanzone in Trafalgar Square, central London, ahead of England’s first Euro 2020 game against Croatia.

Fans arrived draped in England flags and wearing official England shirts to cheer on Gareth Southgate’s men as they start their campaign.

Rows of benches were set up inside the square, with two large screens either side of Nelson’s Column.

Announcements reminded supporters to stay hydrated and respect social distancing in the sunshine and high temperatures.

Mason Mount has been speaking to the BBC

13:22 , Malik Ouzia

On making his tournament debut - “Obviously, I’m very excited. I don’t think you can let the occasion get the better of you, but we know how big the game is. We’re confident, in a good state of mind.”

On facing up against Luka Modric - “I’ve had a bit of experience playing against him this season already and that always helps but this is a different kind of game.”

Much like in the glorious summer of 2018, it’s absolutely sweltering...

13:16 , Malik Ouzia

England fans are being urged to protect themselves in the sun as the nation’s football team kicks off its Euro 2020 campaign, as Sunday could be the hottest day of the year so far.

Temperatures could peak at nearly 29C (84.2F) as England play their first match against Croatia at Wembley.

a group of people that are standing in the street:  (AFP via Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard (AFP via Getty Images)

Met Office meteorologist Becky Mitchell said the “heat is widespread” on Sunday, with temperatures in the mid-20s across most areas.

She said that “full-on sunshine” with very high UV levels is expected for London, so it “will feel hot with light winds”.

She added: “If anyone is out watching the football it will definitely be worth protecting yourself from the sun.”

A temperature above 28.3C (82.94F) will make it the hottest day of the year so far as well as the hottest June 13 on record.

The Met Office said: “Interestingly June 13 is the only day during meteorological summer that we’ve never recorded 30C (86F). We won’t see 30C today, but we may see the hottest day of the year so far for some.”

The hottest temperature recorded so far this year was 28.3C in Northolt, north-west London, on June 2.

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