Euros excitement builds in the North East after England win opener

It is only a few days since the European Championships started, but England football fans in the North East are already growing increasingly excited about their side's prospects in the tournament.

England won their opening match 1-0 against Croatia at Wembley.

Raheem Sterling gave the home team the lead after 57 minutes with his first major tournament goal.

England's Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring against Croatia Credit: PA

The Three Lions had never previously won their opening game at a European Championship, but that would soon end.

The Manchester City player was slipped in by Kalvin Phillips and he coolly fired a first-time effort in from twelve yards.

22,500 fans were in attendance at Wembley Stadium, but many more were watching on television screens around the country.

At the Fan Zone in Newcastle, supporters were clearly encouraged by the performance of Gareth Southgate's men, even uttering those three familiar words...

Goalkeeper and former Sunderland player Jordan Pickford, who grew up in Washington, played a starring role as England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

He is England's number one again this time around and while he was rarely tested on Sunday afternoon, Pickford will nonetheless have been pleased to have kept a clean sheet in the opening fixture.

Another former Sunderland player, Jordan Henderson, was among the substitutes but did not come off the bench as he is still short on match fitness after an injury towards the end of last season.

The Liverpool captain was awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours for services to football and charity during the pandemic.

Back on the pitch, Gareth Southgate's side have made the ideal start. But he knows there is a long way to go.

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