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Euro 2024: Southgate credits Serbia for making England suffer

England boss Gareth Southgate says Serbia made England work for their victory in the Three Lions' opening Euro 2024 match.

Gareth Southgate of England

England head coach Gareth Southgate says his side were made to suffer against Serbia in their opening match of Euro 2024.

The Three Lions picked up a 1-0 win thanks to a Jude Bellingham header, but it was far from plain sailing for the 2020 finalists.

Serbia were rough and committed to their gameplan in Germany, suffocating England and making sure they could get no rhythm in their play.

But they struggled to find the net themselves and aside from one good Jordan Pickford save, never really looked like scoring.

Southgate did not appear too frustrated by the performance of his team and actually says the game was a good lesson for his players.

Speaking to BBC Sport, he said: “They’re a strong team.

“We had to suffer a bit, which I think is really good for us to come through and defend our box the way we did under pressure. It was important for the group.

“I was really pleased with a lot of the play, especially in the first half.

“We used the ball really well. During the second half we didn’t keep it quite as we need to, but to get the win and the start that we have is really important.”

His thoughts were echoed by captain Harry Kane, who did not have his best night but battled hard until the final whistle.

He added: “We knew it was going to be a tough game, Serbia pose a lot of threats and have some good players.

“They will make it a battle for you and we dealt with it really well.

“There was a spell during the second half when we got camped in our box and found it hard to get out but it was an important win.”

Picture of Mitch Fretton

Mitch Fretton

Mitch is a freelance sports journalist with experience working for LiveScore, GOAL and Colchester United. He has experience working from both his desk at home and in the press box at games covering the Champions League and international football.