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Euro 2024 day three: England and Netherlands look to show title credentials

England captain Harry Kane (left) and manager Gareth Southgate will be hoping to get off to a winning start (UEFA Handout/PA)
England captain Harry Kane (left) and manager Gareth Southgate will be hoping to get off to a winning start (UEFA Handout/PA)

England open their Euro 2024 campaign against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday evening, looking to follow holders Italy and Spain in getting off to a winning start.

Also in Group C, Slovenia and Denmark meet in Stuttgart while the Netherlands face Poland in Hamburg for the first match of Group D.

Here, the PA news agency looks ahead to day three of the competition.

Harry is in it to win it

Harry Kane during an England press conference at Euro 2024 in Gelsenkirchen
Can England captain Harry Kane take his side to glory at Euro 2024? (UEFA Handout/PA)

England captain Harry Kane is ready to lead by example as Gareth Southgate’s men look to go one better than at Euro 2020, when they suffered a heart-breaking penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy in the final on home soil at Wembley.

“We are here to win ultimately and there will be nothing better than to do that for the nation,” the Bayern Munich forward said.

“We know how tough it was to get to the final last time and we are going to have to do that again and even more if we want to do that again – and hopefully one step further.

“We have a good opportunity, a lot of hard work in front of us, but that opportunity is there and I am looking forward to trying to make it happen.”

VvD full of Dutch courage

Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk feels his side can also be in the mix to go all the way at Euro 2024.

Oranje boss Ronald Koeman won the European Championship as player in 1988 alongside Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit.

And Liverpool defender Van Dijk has every confidence in the current generation ahead of their Group D opener at the Volksparkstadion against Poland, who will be without injured talisman Robert Lewandowski.

“There are obviously very good teams around, obviously France, Germany, Portugal, England – but I think at a tournament, it can be totally different,” Van Dijk said.

“Hopefully we can be at our best and be up there – that is the aim and that is what we are going to fight for.”

Azzurri recover from slow start

Nedim Bajrami had fired Albania into a shock lead after just 23 seconds of the Group B opener against the defending champions on Saturday, setting a new record for the fastest goal in the tournament’s history.

Italy, though, were soon back on level terms through a towering header from defender Alessandro Bastoni.

Nicolo Barella then lashed in a 20-yard strike to turn the match around after 16 minutes.

Luciano Spalletti’s side went on to take control – and could have scored more but for a string of fine saves by Brentford keeper Thomas Strakosha.

Spain lay down early marker

Croatia’s Luka Modric reacts as Spain’s Dani Carvajal is congratulated after scoring in their Group B match at Euro 2024
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric saw his side suffer an opening defeat as Spain coasted to victory in Berlin (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

Spain got their Group B campaign off to an impressive start with a 3-0 win over Croatia in Berlin.

Captain Alvaro Morata set La Roja on their way with a low finish after 29 minutes before Fabian Ruiz soon doubled the lead and Dani Carvajal volleyed home a third from close range in first-half stoppage time.

To compound a miserable afternoon for a below-par Croatia, a late goal from substitute Bruno Petkovic was ruled out for encroachment when he slotted in a cross after his initial penalty had been saved.

Swiss start like clockwork