England out to dispel Euro 2024 doubts against Serbia

By AFP
June 16, 2024
Harry Kane can be seen along with other teammates. — AFP File

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany: England´s attacking arsenal sees them start Euro 2024 as the bookmakers´ favourites to end a wait since 1966 to win a major tournament, but some doubts persist over the Three Lions ahead of Sunday´s opener against Serbia.

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Gareth Southgate´s men have won just one of their last five matches -- a run that includes a 1-1 draw with North Macedonia and a shock 1-0 home defeat to Iceland in their final warm-up match before flying out to Germany.

England are still expected to cruise through a group that also includes Denmark and Slovenia.

However, a dominant display is required against the Serbs in Gelsenkirchen to settle nerves at the start of another tournament filled with high expectations, but which could still fail to deliver a long-awaited trophy.

The biggest question over England´s credentials to be European champions is at the back as injury has robbed Southgate of his settled back four from previous tournaments.

Harry Maguire failed to make the squad due to a calf problem, while Luke Shaw is included as the only natural left-back despite not having played any minutes for club or country since February.

John Stones is therefore even more crucial as the one experienced centre-back at international tournament level, but the Manchester City man has also been dogged by fitness problems this season.

Kieran Trippier, a right-back by trade, is set to start against Serbia at left-back.

Crystal Palace´s Marc Guehi is the leading candidate to partner Stones for his first major tournament start. England´s defensive deficiencies have already been exploited by Brazil, Belgium and Iceland in 2024.

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