England Launch Euro 2024 Campaign Against Serbia

Three Lions Aim for Glory in Germany

England’s quest to exorcise the ghosts of Euro 2020 kicks off at the Veltins-Arena on Sunday night, as Gareth Southgate’s men face Serbia in their opening match of Euro 2024.

With Denmark and Slovenia also vying for knockout spots in Group C, the road to the finals won’t be easy for the Three Lions.

Serbia’s Historic Debut

Serbia, two-time runners-up during their Yugoslavia days, are making their debut as an independent nation in this year’s European Championships.

Under the leadership of Dragan Stojkovic, one of Serbia’s all-time greats, the Eagles secured their place with a mixed qualifying campaign, winning four of their eight matches to finish second behind Hungary.

In qualifying, Serbia showed consistency by defeating Lithuania and Montenegro twice, drawing with Bulgaria, and losing both matches to Hungary.

This secured their first Euros appearance since Yugoslavia’s quarter-final run in 2000.

Star-Studded Serbian Squad

Serbia’s squad is packed with talent, including Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic, Ajax playmaker Dusan Tadic, and Al-Hilal stars Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Despite their star power, Serbia’s recent form has been patchy, with only four wins in their last 11 matches.

However, they have shown promise in recent friendlies, narrowly beating Cyprus 1-0 and losing 2-1 to Austria before a convincing 3-0 victory over Sweden, thanks to goals from Milinkovic-Savic, Tadic, and Mitrovic.

England’s Road to Redemption

It’s been less than three years since England fans were left heartbroken at Wembley, as Italy snatched Euro 2020 glory from the Three Lions in a penalty shootout.

Gareth Southgate, still at the helm despite some criticism and speculation about his future, led England through an unbeaten qualification campaign after their quarter-final exit at the 2022 World Cup.

England secured six wins in qualifying, including two against reigning champions Italy. However, their form has been shaky in recent friendlies, with only one win in five matches.

That victory, a 3-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina, was a lacklustre affair until the final third of the match.

Recent Struggles and Tactical Tweaks

The Three Lions have faced some tough results, including a 1-0 loss to Iceland at Wembley and a 1-0 defeat to Brazil in March, with Real Madrid-bound teenager Endrick scoring the decisive goal.

A last-minute equalizer from Jude Bellingham salvaged a 2-2 draw against Belgium, but England’s lack of cutting edge has been evident.

Southgate experimented with his line-ups during the friendlies, but England’s group stage record since Euro 2004 remains intact.

Facing Serbia for the first time since the breakup of Yugoslavia, England will need to find their form quickly to avoid any early upsets.

As England prepare for their Euro 2024 opener, the pressure is on to deliver and finally bring football home.

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