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Hard-fought victory for England over Serbia

England secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Serbia in their opening match of the European Championship, thanks to a stunning header by Jude Bellingham. The Real Madrid star, only 20 years old, proved to be the difference maker in a match where England struggled to live up to their top favorite status.

Bellingham's dominance

From the first quarter of an hour, the stadium in Gelsenkirchen echoed with "Hey Jude" from The Beatles, as thousands of English fans celebrated Bellingham's presence. He dominated the arena with his powerful strides and technical excellence. Bellingham was everywhere – scoring the decisive opening goal and contributing defensively all over the pitch. He was the ultimate athlete, showcasing both offensive prowess and defensive diligence.

Bellingham shines again

While Bellingham shone brightly, he was somewhat alone in his efforts. With Harry Kane and Phil Foden expected to help end England's 58-year title drought since the 1966 World Cup, it was only Bellingham who delivered in this opener. Foden was lackluster against the resilient Serbs, and Kane was largely invisible for much of the game. The European top scorer had only one touch before halftime and came close to scoring with a header that was brilliantly saved by Serbia's goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic in the final quarter of the match.

England's struggles

Kane, known as England's finisher, had little impact, and the team lacked the cohesion and creativity expected of title contenders. The tempo was often low, and precision was lacking. Gareth Southgate's squad needs to grow into the tournament, but the pressure and expectations are high.

Serbia's Response

Serbia, initially showing great respect for England's star-studded lineup, began to push forward after an hour, especially with the introduction of Dusan Tadic. The former Ajax player added flair and created chances, exposing vulnerabilities in England's defense. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had to make several crucial saves to maintain the lead.

Defensive Resilience and Attacking concerns

England managed to hold on, which brought relief, and Southgate saw his defense withstand the pressure. However, the lack of attacking prowess beyond Bellingham is a concern. For England to live up to their title favorite status, other stars need to step up.

This victory, though far from convincing, gives England a critical three points to start their campaign. But with much tougher challenges ahead, the team must address their creative and attacking deficiencies to progress further in the tournament.

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