Serbia vs England 0-1: Bellingham Sets Three Lions Off to Good Start

Jude Bellingham, who else? The Real Madrid starlet set England off to a good start in their first Euro 2024 match in Group C as he scored the only goal of the night in Gelsenkirchen, helping the Three Lions prevail over Serbia on Sunday. 

Dragan Stojkovic’s Serbia, at their first participation to the European Championship since parting ways with Montenegro in 2006, made their usual showing: A team with a big potential that almost never manages to make a difference when things get tough. They conceded one goal after 13 minutes, and came closer to capitulating again than to grabbing an equalizer. 

Stojkovic made a bold move as he left his star striker Dusan Tadic on the bench, relying on Aleksandar Mitrovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, both playing in Saudi Arabia, as well as on Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic to spearhead the attack.  

England’s offensive potential looked fearsome, with Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, and Bellingham behind Harry Kane. Saka’s progressions along the right flank were an absolute scourge to the Balkan selection. From one of those early forays, the Arsenal winger crossed the ball in the middle of the box, where Bellingham showed perfect timing as he clinically headed it past the Serbian goalie Predrag Rajkovic, anticipating Andrija Zivkovic in the process. 

Serbia struggled to react. Milinkovic-Savic was nowhere to be seen, Vlahovic appeared confused and risked triggering England’s second goal with a careless pass that resulted in a Three Lions fast break on 24 minutes. Luckily for him and for Serbia, Kyle Walker squandered the chance as he missed the final pass. 

Gareth Southgate’s side slowed down the match tempo in the second half, when it became clear that they could manage to preserve their lead without struggling too much. Serbia’s approach after the restart was just a little more proactive, but their only chance came from a Filip Mladenovic pass in the box which Jordan Pickford scrambled to block, with the help of Kieran Trippier who prevented Mitrovic from reaching the ball. On his part, Vlahovic finally showed some glimpses of his talent towards the end of the game with a sudden shot that called Pickford to action again. 

Still, it was England to come closer to adding a second one to their tally. From a Harry Kane header from point blank range, Rajkovic came up with a fantastic save that reminded of Gordon Banks’ heroic against Pele in a famous 1970 World Cup match, deflecting the ball into the crossbar and keeping the score at 1-0. 

The Three Lions took home all three points on offer without breaking too much of a sweat and confirmed to have an absolute lethal weapon in Jude Bellingham. Serbia, on the other hand, looked once again like a perpetually unaccomplished side, but will still have some good chances of making it past the Group Stage as they take on Slovenia and Denmark next. 



June 16, 2024 – Euro 2024 Group C

SCORER: 13′ Bellingham

SERBIA (3-4-2-1): Rajkovic; Veljkovic, Milenkovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic (74′ Birmancevic), Lukic (61′ Jovic), Gudelj (46′ Ilic), Kostic (43′ Mladenovic); Vlahovic, S. Milinkovic-Savic; Mitrovic (61′ Tadic) (V. Milinkovic-Savic, Petrovic, Spajic, Stojic, Maksimovic, Babic, Mijailovic, Ratkov, Samardzic, Gacinovic) Coach: Stojkovic
ENGLAND (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guehi, Trippier; Alexander-Arnold (69′ Gallagher), Rice; Saka (76′ Bowen), Bellingham (86′ Mainoo), Foden; Kane (Ramsdale, Henderson, Shaw, Konza, Dunk, Toney, Gordon, Watkins, Eze, Gomez, Palmer, Wharton) Coach: Southgate

REFEREE: Mr. Orsato (Italy)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Gudelj, Tadic; Added Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 4′