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Serbia national football team
European Championship | Group Stage
Jun 16, 2024 at 8pm UK
England national football team

0 - 1

Gudelj (39'), Tadic (75'), Stojkovic (83')
FT(HT: 0-1)

Jude Bellingham credits Real Madrid "habit" for crucial England Euro 2024 winner

New habits: Bellingham reveals key Real Madrid tactic to beat
© Reuters
England midfielder Jude Bellingham credits a "habit" that he has picked up at Real Madrid for his winning goal in the Three Lions' 1-0 beating of Serbia at Euro 2024.

England match-winner Jude Bellingham credited a "habit" that he has developed during his first season at Real Madrid for his pivotal goal in the Three Lions' opening Euro 2024 triumph over Serbia.

Gareth Southgate's men made it four opening-day victories at major tournaments under the 53-year-old at the Veltins-Arena, where Bellingham headed in the only goal of the contest in the first half.

The 20-year-old was unavailable for either of England's friendly contests with Bosnia-Herzegovina or Iceland after a gruelling - yet highly successful - first season at Real Madrid, where he exceeded expectations in an attacking role.

Usually playing as a number 10 and even taking on the role of a central striker at times, Bellingham recorded 23 goals and 13 assists for Carlo Ancelotti's side en route to a Champions League, La Liga and Supercopa de Espana treble.

The former Borussia Dortmund and Birmingham City starlet showcased his predatory instincts in Gelsenkirchen, bursting into the box to meet Bukayo Saka's deflected cross and head home past a flat-footed Predrag Rajkovic.

England's Jude Bellingham applauds fans after the match on June 16, 2024© Reuters

Bellingham reveals how his penalty-box poaching has developed

As well as his game-defining goal, Bellingham's industrious midfield performance in all thirds of the pitch was fundamental to England clinging onto their lead, as the Three Lions immediately rose to the top of Group C.

Speaking after the match, as quoted by, the 20-year-old hailed his "habit" of arriving in the box for Real Madrid for his winner at the weekend, saying: "I have got used to getting in the box, playing wide or taking people on through the middle.

"Playing the ball wide and getting into the box, I've got into the habit at Madrid and I wanted to carry my form into the EUROs. It's a great start for me personally to get my confidence up and to help us win the game is the most important thing.

"I have got to be ready for everything over the next six or seven games now and I am willing to do whatever it takes, put my body through whatever to try and help the country win the tournament.

"It was a good game, they're a very tough side, very robust, strong and a big group of lads. It was important that we prepared well for this game and we did. The staff got it right, we prepared all week very well and when it came to the game, we knew what we had to do."

Southgate: 'Bellingham writes his own scripts'

England head coach Gareth Southgate on June 16, 2024© Reuters

As the likes of Phil Foden and Harry Kane - playing on the shoulder of the last defender rather than dropping deep - struggled to make an impact against Serbia, others such as Saka, Marc Guehi and Bellingham stepped up for the Three Lions.

The latter is also now the youngest male player to compete at three major international tournaments - breaking Michael Owen's record - and Southgate also waxed lyrical about his stellar display in Gelsenkirchen.

"He [Bellingham] writes his own scripts. The timing of his run, it's a super bit of play in the build up to his goal as well. I thought at different moments all of our forward players looked dangerous and did a job for a team," the England boss said.

While a handful of England's performers put in strong individual displays on the night, their collective performance left a lot to be desired and led to criticism of Southgate's approach from Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag.

However, the Three Lions could top their section with a game to spare by beating Denmark on Thursday, before taking on Slovenia in their final Group C battle on June 25.

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag applauds the fans after the match on May 15, 2024
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Group A

Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

Q England flag England31205
Q Denmark Denmark30303
Q Slovenia Slovenia30303
4 Serbia Serbia30212

Group D

Q Austria Austria32016
Q France France31205
Q Netherlands Netherlands31114
4 Poland Poland30121

Group E

Q Romania Romania31114
Q Belgium Belgium31114
Q Slovakia Slovakia31114
4 Ukraine Ukraine31114

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Turkey Turkey32016
Q Georgia Georgia31114
4 Czech Republic Czech Republic30121

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