England started their Euro 2020 campaign one year late but three points to the good after a patient 1-0 victory against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday afternoon, breaking a run of poor opening results in the European Championships and putting themselves into a strong early position in their group.
England started the game brightly, Phil Foden's curling effort coming back off the post within the first few minutes, but the pace slowed in the Wembley heat and the two sides went in goalless at half-time.
A similarly cagey beginning to the second-half led to thoughts of a change from Gareth Southgate but his side burst into life just after the hour mark when, after a patient build-up, Kalvin Phillips broke clear and fed Raheem Sterling to fire in.
The goal visibly lifted England and Harry Kane was close to adding a second when stretching at the far post while Sterling blazed over with time and space in the penalty area following a set-piece.
Against difficult, experienced opponents, England ticked almost of the boxes for an opening tournament match; three points, a clean sheet, very few chances conceded with good game management and vindication for the manager in his selection choices and substitutions.
Any doubts about the ability of Tyrone Mings and Kalvin Phillips in such an important fixture were dispelled while Sterling's first tournament goal was also a huge moment.
The win sets up a Friday night showdown with Scotland at Wembley.