Gareth Southgate’s men seemed in reasonable control throughout the contest despite not producing a spectacular performance.
However, some of the individual displays certainly caught the eye.
Sterling put on a splendid display for his country, while Kalvin Phillips was also outstanding in the middle of the park.
The 25-year-old harassed the Croatian midfield with his relentless pressing throughout the game. He was excellent defensively, providing a shield for the back four.
The midfielder also played a big role in England’s goal, setting up Sterling’s winner with an impressive solo run.
Former England international Alan Shearer heaped praise on Phillips, stating that he was the best player on the pitch against Croatia.
“I thought he was man of the match for England today,” he told BBC One. “I thought he was superb from start to finish.
“He had energy, he had the maturity, he had everything you want from a midfielder.
“He was up, he was down. The pass for the goal was superb. He was protecting that back four at times. Fantastic.”
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) June 13, 2021
Phillips will be delighted with his performance in the opening game of the European Championships, and he will be hoping to build on it over the next few weeks.
The Leeds midfielder seems to have formed a reliable partnership at the heart of England’s midfield alongside Declan Rice.
It will be difficult for the likes of Jordan Henderson to get back into the starting line-up if they continue to perform at this level.