It wasn’t pretty, but England kicked off their Euro 2024 campaign with a win in Gelsenkirchen this evening. Look back at the best facts and analyse the Opta data with our Serbia vs England stats page.

England started their Euro 2024 campaign with a win, but it wasn’t pretty. After Jude Bellingham’s goal capped off incredible early English dominance on the ball, the Three Lions gradually looked more uncomfortable with their tactical set up in attack and allowed Serbia to grow into the match.

As pre-tournament favourites with the Opta supercomputer, expectations were high for this England team, but arguably more questions were raised than answered following this 1-0 win.

England’s golden boy put them into the lead. Bellingham’s expertly-timed run into the box meant he was on hand to head home Bukayo Saka’s deflected cross. That goal saw him become the first player to score for the Three Lions at both the World Cup and European Championship while playing his club football outside England.

An early goal was what England deserved based on their dominant start. At the time of Bellingham’s 13th-minute header, England had completed 10 times the number of passes as Serbia (150-15). Serbia didn’t even make a single successful pass in the opening five minutes and 58 seconds of the game.

While England began to sit back, Serbia grew into the match as the first half went on. They only had a 20th-minute strike from danger man Aleksandar Mitrovic that threatened England’s goal though, as he fired just past the post.

England First Half Passes
England Second Half Passes

That threat grew in the second half as England looked nervous in possession and offered little danger going forward. However, for all of Serbia’s possession in England’s half, they failed to muster a single shot after half-time until the 82nd minute when Dusan Vlahovic’s strike from outside the box nearly caught Jordan Pickford by surprise before the England goalkeeper tipped the ball over the bar.

Harry Kane played an unselfish role in England’s win and had a frustrating first half, only managing two touches of the ball before half-time – one of those coming in stoppage time. He began to get more involved in the second half and came closest to doubling England’s lead in the 77th minute. His header was brilliantly saved onto the crossbar by Serbian goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic before bouncing clear of danger.

Harry Kane Touches

It wasn’t a game for the neutral, with only 11 shots taken overall – six to Serbia, five for England. That tally is the lowest on record in a European Championship match, fewer than every one of the other 322 matches in the competition since 1980.

One positive for Gareth Southgate was that Marc Guéhi looked assured in his first major tournament appearance for England, coping with the threat of Vlahovic, Mitrovic and his replacement Luka Jovic well. The Crystal Palace defender did not misplace a pass until his 42nd attempt in the 58th minute, and ended the night with a 96% completion rate (51/53).

England don’t traditionally start well at European Championship finals. Before tonight, they’d only won one of their opening games across 10 tournaments (L4 D6). That came at Euro 2020, when they beat Croatia 1-0 in a patchy display, before they ended up reaching the final.

After an unconvincing 1-0 victory tonight, they’ll be hoping to grow into the tournament like they did three years ago.

Our Opta match centre delivers you all the Serbia vs England stats from their Euro 2024 Group C clash at Arena AufSchalke, .

The match centre below includes team and player stats, expected goals data, passing networks, an Opta chalkboard and more. It gives you everything you need to do your own post-match analysis.

Underneath the match centre you can find the official Opta stats on the game as well. 

Serbia vs England: Post-Match Facts

  • England have won their opening game in all four of their major tournaments played under Gareth Southgate (Euro 2020 and 2024, World Cup 2018 and 2022), just one fewer such victory than across their other 23 major tournament appearances (W5 D11 L7).
  • England have kept a clean sheet in each of their last five group stage matches at the UEFA European Championship finals, the longest such run in the competition’s history.
  • Serbia have lost 10 of their 13 games at major tournaments as an independent nation (W2 D1 – World Cup/Euros), going winless in their last six such matches since beating Costa Rica 1-0 at the World Cup 2018 (D1 L5).
  • England’s Jude Bellingham (World Cup 2022 and Euro 2024) became just the second player ever to score at both the World Cup and European Championship before turning 21 after compatriot Michael Owen (World Cup 1998 and Euro 2000).
  • Jude Bellingham became the first player to score for England at both the World Cup and European Championship while playing his club football outside of England.
  • With his goal tonight and goal against Iran at World Cup 2022, Jude Bellingham became the fifth player to score England’s opening goal at two different major tournaments after Bobby Charlton, Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker and Bryan Robson.
  • Only Sir Alf Ramsey (67% – 8/12) has a better win-rate amongst England managers in major tournaments than Gareth Southgate (60% – 12/20).
  • England’s Jude Bellingham became the first European player to make an appearance at three different major international tournaments before turning the age of 21 (aged 20 years, 353 days today), having played at Euro 2020, the 2022 FIFA World Cup and now Euro 2024.  
  • Harry Kane made his 23rd appearance at a major international tournament (World Cup/Euros), the outright most by an England player, overtaking both Ashley Cole and Raheem Sterling.
  • Jordan Pickford made his 20th appearance for England at a men’s major international tournament (World Cup/Euros), a joint record for a Three Lions goalkeeper along with Peter Shilton.

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