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Euro 2024: A new-look England and another moment for Bellingham to shine | World News

No Euros game on record has had as few shots as England’s clash with Serbia.

But one of those 11 shots was enough for Jude Bellingham to seize on – heading in Bukayo Saka’s cross after 13 minutes. And it was just enough for England.

Whatever the second-half anxiety, a 1-0 win put England in control of their group thanks to Slovenia and Denmark drawing 1-1 in their opener.

A win and two-point cushion seems more important for Bellingham than any grumbling about the display.

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England defeat Serbia in Euros

“The first half shows why we can score goals against any team, and the second half shows why we can keep a clean sheet against any team,” Bellingham said.

“I think obviously commonly with the team, there’s a negative theme around all our games – sometimes rightly so.

“But I think in this case, you take the positives from the fact that, OK, maybe we had to hold on at times and suffer a little bit, but we kept a clean sheet.

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“And when you keep a clean sheet, all you have to do is go one goal to win the game.”

Jude Bellingham and Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrate after the Real Madrid star's goal for England. Pic: AP
Image:
Jude Bellingham and Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrate after the Real Madrid star’s goal for England. Pic: AP

It was anxious as Serbia regained the initiative in the second half and left England scrambling to protect the slender lead.

But Gareth Southgate has now won all four opening tournament matches as England manager while still waiting to end a tournament with a win – and a trophy.

This is a new-look England – with only half of the squad retained from the last tournament and the run to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2022.

Bellingham said: “This team is still so new, gelling together with every game.

“So, I think inside the changing room we will be happy with that of course.

“There will be negatives that we want to kind of rub out. But overall, I’m pleased with that performance.”

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Fans celebrate first England goal of the Euros

For Bellingham individually, this was another moment to shine being named player of the match after making an immediate impact on another major football stage.

More renditions of “Hey Jude” from the Three Lions fans in Gelsenkirchen, affection he tries to reciprocate by putting everything into energetic displays.

And the big reveal from Bellingham?

“I listen to the Beatles a lot,” he said. “My style of music is a bit old. So that’s right up my street.”

A wise head on a young body, it is easy to forget he is still only 20 – and already a Champions League and La Liga winner with Real Madrid.

Read more:
England player ratings: Guehi impressive
Bellingham called world’s best by Top Trumps
Axe-wielding man shot near Hamburg fanzone

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What will it take to give the England men their first trophy since the 1966 World Cup?

“I realise that in every game I feel like I can make an impact,” he said after collecting the player of the match award.

“I feel like I can decide games… and the truth is that I really enjoy playing football. So when I go out there, I play with a fearlessness because I love doing it so much. It’s a release for me.

“And it’s my favourite thing to do in the world. So when I play out, it’s not much of a job. It feels like a pleasure.”

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