Raheem Sterling scored his first goal in a major soccer tournament to give England a 1-0 win over Croatia on Sunday at the European Championship.
The goal ensured England overcame its opening-game stumbling block, finally making a winning start to the continental tournament in its 10th appearance.
After only scoring once in his previous 13 appearances for Manchester City and England, Sterling found the breakthrough against Croatia in the 57th minute. It was the vision of Kalvin Phillips, one of five England starters making their tournament debut, that created the opening.
The Leeds midfielder shook of challenges before releasing Sterling, who slipped a shot into the net via a touch off Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livaković.
The sparkling moment for Sterling came two days after he was named in the queen’s birthday honors list for his campaigning against racial injustice.
Also, 17-year-old midfielder Jude Bellingham, who plays in Germany with Borussia Dortmund, became the youngest-ever player to appear at a European Championship when he came on in the 82nd minute to replace England captain Harry Kane. The previous record had been held by Jetro Willems, who was 18 when he played for the Netherlands at Euro 2012.
NETHERLANDS 3, UKRAINE 2
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Denzel Dumfries made up for an earlier mistake by heading in an 85th-minute winning goal, giving the Netherlands a 3-2 victory over Ukraine.
Dumfries missed an open header in the first half, but he converted when the team needed it most, heading in a cross from Nathan Ake only minutes after his team had squandered a two-goal lead.
The Dutch were playing in their first major soccer tournament in seven years. The last time was at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when they reached the semifinals.
Georginio Wijnaldum put the 1988 European champions in the lead in the 52nd minute, and Wout Weghorst made it 2-0 in the 59th.
But Ukraine captain Andriy Yarmolenko curled a shot over Maarten Stekelenburg in the 75th minute and Roman Yaremchuk dived in front of Weghorst to head in a free kick from the left four minutes later.
AUSTRIA 3, NORTH MACEDONIA 1
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Michael Gregoritsch and Marko Arnautović both came on as substitutes and scored late to help Austria beat North Macedonia 3-1.
It was Austria’s first win at a major soccer tournament in 31 years and its first ever at the European Championship.
Austria captain David Alaba set up the winning goal for Gregoritsch, curling in a perfect cross in the 78th minute. Arnautović then collected backheel flick from Konrad Leimer before calmly rounding goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski and scoring the final goal with a minute to go.
Austria defender Stefan Lainer scored the first goal in the 18th minute, and then grabbed a white shirt from the bench to deliver a message to Christian Eriksen, the Denmark midfielder who collapsed on the field on Saturday in Copenhagen. Gregoritsch did the same thing after his goal.
“Eriksen, stay strong,” the message read.
North Macedonia captain Goran Pandev equalized 10 minutes later, making the 37-year-old veteran the second oldest player to score in the tournament’s history. Only Ivica Vastic was older when he scored for Austria against Poland at Euro 2008 at the age of 38.
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