The Manchester City forward finished from Kalvin Phillips’ pass after 57 minutes in front of 22,500 supporters at Wembley to leave Gareth Southgate’s side in a strong position to progress to the knockouts ahead of the matches against Scotland and the Czech Republic.
Dan Kilpatrick was at the national stadium to rate the England players…
Not seriously tested and got behind Croatia’s best effort on goal, a long-range shot from Modric. Quick off his line, kicking was solid and handling assured.
Played his part in the goal by passing to Phillips but was loose in possession, more than once sending a simple pass astray. His pace and strength in recovery are huge strengths, though.
Stepped out of defence well and stood up to Croatian pressure after half-time. Had to be the leader in Harry Maguire’s absence.
Made an important challenge on Ivan Perisic in the first half and looked solid. Went long in possession often, with mixed success.
A surprise pick at left-back, Trippier did not always look completely comfortable and rarely got forward on his weaker side. Started a couple of attacks with quick-thinking throw-ins.
Faced with Croatia’s glittering midfield, Rice asserted himself well and provided an important platform for England’s attacking players.
England’s standout player. The architect of Sterling’s goal with a fine through ball an won every 50:50 while proving a threat going forward. Even tested goalkeeper with a volley early on.
Took no time to show his quality, striking the post after just six minutes. Thereafter did not manage to get one-on-one but involved in many of England’s best moves, including a chance for Kane.
Excellent. Kept pressing Croatia into mistakes and clever in possession. Inches from both an assist for Kane and a goal with a free-kick in a few second-half minutes.
England’s biggest threat in the final third was rewarded with his first tournament goal. Also set-up Foden early in a lively display which justified his inclusion and suggested his sluggish form for City may not carry over to England.
Quiet by his standards. Did not have a chance of note until he was denied by a superb covering challenge by Josko Gvardiol at the back post. A surprising sub for Bellingham as England looked to see out the game.
Marcus Rashford (Foden 71’) 6
Stretched Croatia as a wide player and then the central forward after Kane was replaced.
Jude Bellingham (Kane 82’) 6
Made his major tournament debut at just 17 and predictably looked composed as England held on to win.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Sterling 90’) N/A
Not used: D. Henderson, Johnstone, Shaw, Grealish, Henderson, Coady, White, James, Saka.