Serbia star takes aim at England and points out huge weakness after Euro 2024 clash

England allowed Serbia enough space to win their Euro 2024 opener, according to captain Dusan Tadic.

Jude Bellingham ’s 13th-minute header was enough for England to secure the three points with a 1-0 victory on Sunday night in Gelsenkirchen. It could have been 2-0 but Predrag Rajkovic pushed Harry Kane ’s powerful second-half header onto the crossbar.

Serbia made things difficult for Gareth Southgate ’s side, but Aleksandar Mitrovic fired wide in the first half and Jordan Pickford pushed Dusan Vlahovic’s powerful long-range attempt over. Despite their pressure in the second half, that Vlahovic shot was Serbia’s only attempt on target for Pickford to save.

Nevertheless, Tadic, who made a difference as a second-half substitute, believes his side were shown enough by their opponents to produce a shock result. "England have big names but they give the opponent a lot of space,” he told Dutch broadcaster NOS. “We could have hurt them."

England started very positively, with Bellingham running the show as they dominated possession. But they retreated into their shell after the expansive start and there were some nervy moments as they held onto their lead.

Southgate told the BBC: "They are a strong team. We had to suffer a bit which I think is really good for us. I think to defend the box the way we did was really good for us. I was really pleased with a lot of the play. Second half we didn't keep it as well as I would have liked but to get the win is very important.”

serbia star takes aim at england and points out huge weakness after euro 2024 clash

Dusan Tadic

Asked about Bellingham, he added: "He writes his own script. The timing of his runs. It was a super bit of play in the build-up of his play. I think all of our forward players looked really good.

"I am confident we will score goals. Playing against a back give it is not easy to create chances and we did. I liked the fact we had to suffer without the ball because that is an area we have worked on a lot this week. We were obviously much better than last week at doing that."

Matchwinner Bellingham said: “Good game. I thought they were a very tough side. Very robust, strong and a big group of lads and it was important that we prepared well.

serbia star takes aim at england and points out huge weakness after euro 2024 clash

Jordan Pickford punches the ball

"The staff got it right. We prepared all week very well. We knew the roles we had to do. We try to keep to our own standards and try to do our own job. It's important that we got off to a good start. Positive inside the camp and onto the next one.”

England face Denmark next on Thursday in Frankfurt before concluding their Group C campaign against Slovenia on June 25 in Cologne. Denmark were held to a 1-1 draw by Slovenia in Sunday’s earlier match as Christian Eriksen’s strike was cancelled out by Erik Janza’s deflected strike.

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