Fans have been left loving what Italian TV had said on Kalvin Phillips’ midfield masterclass in the game against Croatia on Sunday.
Raheem Sterling repaid manager Gareth Southgate’s faith in him with the match-winner to earn the Three Lions some measure of revenge over their 2018 World Cup semi-final conquerors and send his side to the top of Group D.
In front of 22,500 fans at Wembley Stadium, the Premier League player, who hasn’t exactly lit it up performance wise for the 2020/21 season, slotted in after excellent build-up play from Kalvin Phillips on an afternoon when Southgate’s selections paid off despite some backlash at first.
Phil Foden managed to strike the woodwork early on as England began much the better before both sides appeared to slow down but Southgate’s side grabbed the lead just as their visitors were gathering some momentum and saw it through without any major alarms or work for Jordan Pickford to contend with, leaving some extra delight for the returning home fans.
England’s first win in an opening match at a European Championships puts them in a commanding position ahead of their second group game against Scotland on Friday.
England: Pickford (6), Walker (5), Stones (6), Mings (7), Trippier (6), Rice (7), Phillips (8), Mount (7), Foden (7), Sterling (8), Kane (6).
Subs used: Rashford (6), Bellingham (N/A), Calvert-Lewin (N/A)
Croatia: Livakovic (6), Vrsaljko (6), Vida (5), Caleta-Car (6), Gvardiol (5), Modric (6), Brozovic (5), Kovacic (6), Rebic (5), Kramaric (5), Perisic (5).
Subs used: Vlasic (5), Brekalo (6), Petkovic (N/A), Pasalic (N/A)
Man of the match: Raheem Sterling (England)
Kalvin Phillips stunned with his impressive performance, with Ian Wright saying Granny Val would be proud looking down.
As mentioned, fans were left loving what Italian TV said on Kalvin Phillips’ midfield masterclass, as they kept calling him ‘The Yorkshire Pirlo’ throughout the entirety of the match, showing just how much they liked his game.
Kalvin Phillips’ fame is Europe wide. Am watching Italian TV’s coverage of England v Croatia and the commentator has just called him “The Yorkshire Pirlo”. #lufc
— David Anderson (@MirrorAnderson) June 13, 2021
Midfielder Kalvin Phillips, speaking to BBC Sport: “It was really warm and it took its toll on us. It’s a great result and I’m happy with my performance. There are two group games left and we need to perform like that – if not better.
“As soon as we finished celebrating [with Raheem Sterling] it’s the first time I have found him with a pass since I’ve linked up with England.
“It’s a great feeling to get an assist and a great feeling for the three points. I’m laid back – that’s the kind of person I am regardless of what is thrown at me. I just try and take it in my stride. If I didn’t have the team around me and the coaching staff around me to make me feel like that then I don’t think it would be possible.
“There’s a lot of talk about me and Declan Rice fighting for one position but when we play together, I think we play really well. It’s an honour to play with him.”
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) June 13, 2021
Alan Shearer (Former England striker on BBC One): I thought Kalvin Phillips was man of the match for England today. He had a superb game from start to finish. He had an energy, a maturity, he had everything you want from a midfielder. He was up, he was down, the pass for the goal was superb, he was protecting that back four at times. Fantastic.
– In what is their 10th participation in the European Championship finals, England won their opening game of an edition of the tournament for the first time (D5 L4).
– England remain unbeaten in 12 games at Wembley at major tournaments (World Cup & Euros combined), winning eight and drawing four of those matches.
– Croatia have lost eight of their 14 games in all competitions since the start of 2020 (W4 D2); before this, they had lost just eight of their previous 33 matches (W17 D8).
– Croatia lost their first match of a European Championship tournament for the first time, in their sixth such participation (W4 D1).
– Raheem Sterling has been directly involved in 19 goals in his last 17 appearances for England (13 goals, six assists). His opener was his first goal at a major international tournament (World Cup & Euros) in his 13th such appearance.
– England have won all 11 of their internationals in which Raheem Sterling has scored, the best 100% winning rate when scoring of any player in the national side’s history, overtaking Martin Chivers (10/10).
– Kalvin Phillips was the first England player to assist a goal on his first European Championship appearance since David Beckham assisted two goals against Portugal in 2000. As well as this, at 94% (31/33) his passing accuracy was the best of any England player to complete 90 minutes against Croatia.
– Aged 17 years and 349 days, Jude Bellingham came on to become the youngest ever player to appear in the European Championship finals for any nation, and youngest English player to play in any major tournament (World Cup & Euros).
– Aged 19 years and 141 days, Joško Gvardiol became the first ever teenager to feature in a major tournament match (World Cup/EUROs) for Croatia, in what was their 42nd fixture at such a competition.
🗓️ 2020: Playing in the English 2nd tier
🗓️ 2021: Dazzling at #EURO2020
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) June 13, 2021
Post match interviews
England scoring hero Raheem Sterling, speaking to BBC Sport: “It feels good to score. I always said if I played at Wembley at a major tournament I had to score and it’s great to finally do that.
“There’s a lot of different reasons why I haven’t scored for my club and it’s totally irrelevant now. I’m here with England and I’m enjoying my football. That’s the most important thing.
“Have I justified my selection? [after several seconds]…I’m trying.
“It’s great to get off to a win and now we have other games to look forward to. It’s been a long season for me but I couldn’t wait to get here and get started with England. With England, I knew it would be a positive one. “
More from England’s Raheem Sterling: “It’s a great feeling. It was the first game and we needed a win. We stuck together. We headed the ball when we needed to, cleared it when we needed to and played some good football at times. I thought the boys were brilliant.
“To be honest, I always said to myself if I come here, growing up two minutes down the road, I know I have to score here. It was a great feeling to actually do it.
“We need to try to build on it and enjoy today. We have to focus. It’s early days. We need to keep winning, have that winning mentality and keep going forward.”
England defender Tyrone Mings, speaking to BBC Sport: “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.
“I can’t even remember the move for the goal! We wanted a second goal but it was important we were resilient and kept a clean sheet. We felt composed and in good shape. All credit to the whole team. The players who came on gave us new energy.”
England defender Tyrone Mings to BBC Radio 5 Live on his first experience of tournament football: “It was about as perfect as it could have gone. It was important to make a good start. We know the threats they have and how hard it could have been. It was great to play in front of our home fans and to cap it off with a win is perfect.”
On playing next to Kieran Trippier: “He is a top, top player. He’s very experienced and he talked me through the game. We’re so well stocked in every position that anyone who comes in has a responsibility and a part to play.”
On how tough it was in the heat: “It was hard. We found strength and belief in our warm up games and training. We have gone into a lot of detail on how we would cause problems for them. Full credit to the staff and players who came on to give us more energy. It was an all-round great day.”
Fans were left loving what Italian TV said on Kalvin Phillips’ midfield masterclass, see what users tweeted below…
I’m watching on Swedish tv. They just spent 5mins talking about how he’s been the best player on the pitch. #lufc
— Mark Gribben (@MarkGribben) June 13, 2021
@JasonAppleyard: Hands off! He’s ours 👀
@Paul__Dawkins: Kalvin is a Leeds boy through and through, but they’ll have a job keeping him at the rate he’s improving.
@ChangChonChen1: He’s definitely in the shop window now!
@ChicagoWhite: Even better if it was Pirlo calling Kalvin the Yorkshire Pirlo
@PaddyArsenal: I’m watching in Ireland and the commentator just called him “an English bastard”
@a_felicissimo: Same here, watching on Sky Italia, it’s all Phillips, Bielsa, Leeds!!
@LeftHandedShark: And that is a hell of a run and pass too from him. Sheesh.
@BarneyLUFC21: We’re not famous anymore…..
@Allcheese1: Our man has made it 👊👊👊👊
@morleywhites: Great to see the nation & beyond see what we see, you’re welcome. #lufc
@lufclund: This has just brightened my day
@martitabaires: The Argentine TV commentators (who are experts on Leeds United 😂) explained who Kalvin Phillips is, what position he plays in Leeds and of course he’s a star in Yorkshire. 🏴💪🏼