Jude Bellingham fired in a header to get England up and running in Euro 2024 as they edged past Serbia 1-0.

It was a nervy second half for England though, who were forced to soak up pressure from their much-improved opponents.

Bellingham had settled fans’ nerves early on, scoring from a deflected Bukayo Saka cross from the right in the 13th minute.

The 20-year-old’s goal came just a few weeks after he finished a stellar season with Real Madrid by lifting the Champions League trophy.

Kyle Walker also had a good chance in the 25th minute, using his pace to dart into the box and flash the ball across goal.

Bellingham opened the scoring with a header in the 13th minute. Pic: AP

England's Jude Bellingham celebrates his goal to make it 1-0. Pic: AP
Pic: AP

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Fans go wild after first goal

England dominated most of the first half but there was a warning of Serbia’s threat when Aleksandar Mitrovic sent a shot a few yards wide in the 20th minute.

Serbia were far better after the break, winning more 50-50 balls and putting the Three Lions on the back foot for much of the last 45.

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It was a tense second half for fans in Dalston, east London. Pic: Reuters
It was a tense second half for fans in Dalston, east London. Pic: Reuters

Southgate’s team struggled for possession and Trent Alexander-Arnold made way for Conor Gallagher and Saka was subbed for Jarrod Bowen.

Harry Kane almost made it 2-0 with a header from close range in the 77th minute, but the Serbian keeper pushed it on to the crossbar.

It was a quiet game overall for the captain, who scored a prolific 44 goals with Bayern Munich this season.

Jordan Pickford also made a crucial save in the 82nd minute to keep out Dusan Vlahovic’s shot from about 22 yards.

Jordan Pickford pulled off a great second-half save. Pic: Reuters
Pickford pulled off a great second-half save. Pic: Reuters

Harry Kane duels with Serbia's Nikola Milenkovic. Pic: AP
Harry Kane duels with Serbia’s Nikola Milenkovic. Pic: AP

Kane had a header saved and pushed on to the bar. Pic: AP
Kane had a header pushed on to the bar. Pic: AP

Bellingham was subbed late on for another prodigious talent, Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo, but fans will be happy their young star is off the mark.

Speaking after the match, the Madrid star thanked his family and support network and said he was happy to continue his form with the Spanish champions into the Euros.

The 20-year-old said he was “willing to do whatever it takes” to help England win.

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The three points puts England top of their group after Denmark and Slovenia drew 1-1 earlier, but TV pundits agreed the second-half performance was lacklustre and conservative.

Ex Manchester City player Micah Richards described the result as “underwhelming” and said it was “sad to see” players such as Phil Foden underutilised.

Gareth Southgate praised the first-half performance but admitted that after the break “we didn’t keep it quite as well as we need to – but to get the win and the start we have is really important”.

Next up for the Three Lions is Denmark at 5pm this Thursday followed by Slovenia at 8pm on 25 June.