Win for Mainoo, draw for Danish Reds

Sunday 16 June 2024 22:57

Kobbie Mainoo played for the last four minutes of normal time - and the same amount of injury time - as England opened Euro 2024 with a narrow 1-0 win over Serbia.

The Manchester United Academy graduate earned his first competitive cap as he replaced the match-winner Jude Bellingham, whose 13th-minute header from Bukayo Saka's cross ultimately separated the sides.

Conor Gallagher and Jarrod Bowen came on for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Saka in England's first two substitutions, and it was the West Ham man who almost set up a second goal. Bowen's deep cross from the right found Harry Kane and the skipper's header was pushed onto the bar by Predrag Rajkovic.
Mainoo comes on for goalscorer Bellingham in the 86th minute.
Serbia provided a much sterner test in the second half and Jordan Pickford was forced to make a vital save when he tipped over a shot by the lively Dusan Vlahovic.

Mainoo's United team-mate Luke Shaw remained among the unused substitutes, despite starting left-back Kieran Trippier needing attention for cramp late on.

England lead Group C by two points and can now look forward to Thursday, when they'll face Christian Eriksen and Rasmus Hojlund's Denmark who drew 1-1 with Slovenia earlier.
Eriksen was already running the show in Stuttgart when, in the 17th minute, he popped up inside the opposition penalty area and finished off a lovely move to make it 1-0. 

The Danes' no.10 chested down Jonas Wind's beautiful flicked pass and then fired the ball right-footed into the bottom left-hand corner. It was Eriksen's 42nd goal for his country and surely up there as one of the finest and most important among that impressive international tally.

In a dominant first-half performance, Christian went close to creating a second strike on several occasions. He nearly forced an own goal when his half-volleyed cross from the right ricocheted off two Slovenia defenders before spinning to safety beyond the far post.

From a similar position, the 32-year-old almost teed up Hojlund inside the six-yard box, but the attack was thwarted by Jaka Bijol's brilliant interception.

Finally, Eriksen showed an uncharacteristic lack of composure when Wind tried to return the favour with an assist. The United midfielder leaned back and lifted his shot over the bar, and Denmark subsequently went into the interval with a slender but deserved 1-0 lead.

In the second period, the Danes were made to pay for not building a bigger advantage. An hour after Eriksen's opener, the underdogs levelled with a brilliant goal of their own. Benjamin Sesko was a whisker away from equalising for Slovenia with a terrific shot that cannoned against the woodwork but barely a minute later, left-back Erik Janza smashed one in from outside the area. The no.13's effort was unlucky for Denmark defender Morten Hjulmand - he deflected it decisively past Kasper Schmeichel.
Eriksen played the full 90 minutes, while his fellow Red Hojlund left the field seven minutes from time in a triple substitution. The United striker went agonisingly close to doubling the Danes' lead in the 65th minute but his connection with Victor Kristiansen's low cross hit the midriff of sprawling Slovenia goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Earlier in the day, ex-United striker Wout Weghorst scored an 83rd-minute winner as the Netherlands beat Poland 2-1 in Group D.