Croatia not average, England were smarter: Suman Chakraborty

Raheem Sterling's goal ensured England won their opening game in an edition of the Euros for the first time in their history.

England players in a file photo. (Image Credit: Twitter/@England)
By Arnab Mukherji | Jun 14, 2021 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

England recorded their maiden triumph in the opening encounter of a league campaign, in the history of the Euros following a 1-0 win against Croatia. Raheem Sterling scored the winner much to the excitement of the fans, who cheered on the performance of the players with full gusto. Croatia had qualified for their first-ever World Cup final in the 2018 edition, following a triumph against England in the semi-finals. However, they seemed short of ideas and clueless with regard to negotiating the gameplay of the opposition. The absence of Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic who were top performers in the 2018 World Cup, clearly reflected in the approach with Croatia unable to break down the English defence and score the equaliser.

Popular football commentator and critic Suman Chakraborty believes that Gareth Southgate’s smart approach made the difference in a game, which could have been way closer.

“Many fans believe that Croatia were average against England, and failed to adapt to the gameplay of the opposition. However, the level of shrewdness and understanding that Gareth Southgate displayed with regard to tactical nuances made the difference at the end of the day. Luka Modric was left frustrated because he was unable to enjoy possession of the ball and string together passes as much as he wanted. The English players especially Kalvin Phillips kept chasing down the ball with fierce intensity, leaving the Croatia players in a sea of uncertainty,” he says in an exclusive interaction with Sportslumo.

The popular football commentator further backed Croatia attacker Ante Rebic to make his presence felt in the remaining matches.

“Football is a funny game. A player who struggled to make much of an impact in one game, could be the star of the remaining matches. The gaffer must have obviously taken a lot of aspects into account, before deciding to back Rebic. He has the ability to change games singlehandedly and the same needs to be given due respect.”

Impressive gameplay by Italy and Belgium

Chakraborty has words of praise for the manner in which Italy and Belgium went on to record commanding wins against Turkey and Russia respectively.

“It was lovely to see the style in which Italy and Belgium delivered impressive performances against teams who have the ability to be extremely fierce. The manner in which the former went about breaking down a strong Turkey defence was quite extraordinary. Belgium further delivered a quality show against Russia, who proved their prowess in the 2018 World Cup. Romelu Lukaku and Thomas Meunier combined to ensure a handsome win, with the latter certainly one of the best right fullbacks in the world,” he stated.

The popular football commentator believes that Euro 2020 will continue to witness its fair share of competitive matches, with every team capable of recording a win.

“Teams like North Macedonia, Finland cannot be considered Minnows as some people believe. Macedonia defeated Germany previously and were very impressive against Austria. Finland are off to a fine start as well. The sky is the limit,” he concluded.

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