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Serbia vs England Euro 2024 predictions, odds, team news & confirmed XIs: Will Alexander-Arnold start?

Euro 2020 runners-up England begin their quest to win a first European Championship at Euro 2024 against Serbia.

Serbia vs England Latest Prediction

England coach Gareth Southgate must feel relieved after seeing his team drawn into Group C, where they are the highest-ranked team. However, being assigned as pre-tournament favourites means there’s no room for complacency, and the pressure to succeed is even greater. Unfortunately, England’s preparations for the tournament have been bumpy, winning just one of their last five games, embarrassingly losing 1-0 at Wembley to world No.72 Iceland and scoring just six goals during that time.

On the other hand, Serbia, led by the legendary midfielder Dragan Stojković, have also had their share of struggles, having won just four of their last 11 matches — though they did beat Sweden 3-0 in their final friendly. Despite being slight underdogs, Serbia still boast several game-changers, including former Southampton forward Dusan Tadic. However, the quality of England should be too much for Serbia to handle. Although Southgate’s defence has been creaking of late, the ball-winners in midfield, coupled with the dynamic Jude Bellingham supporting a forward line that includes Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, and even Cole Palmer, can bring England the victory.

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The showdown between Serbia and England occurs on June 16 at VELTINS-Arena, Gelsenkirchen.

Serbia finished second in Group G, behind Hungary by just four points. They lost their games against the group winners but had the best marksman, Aleksandar Mitrović, who scored five goals. Three of those goals came in a 3-1 victory over Lithuania. Serbia also won against their neighbours Montenegro, but they could only manage two draws against the bottom side Bulgaria. Stojković knows England are the team to beat for the top spot, but he is aiming for a top-two finish. Even if they don’t finish in the top two, there is a chance they could still progress to the knockout stages, as the best-placed third-placed teams will also advance. Serbia’s group includes Denmark and Slovenia.

England had a successful run in Euro 2024 qualifying Group C and even got a chance to take revenge on Italy, who had previously defeated them on penalties in the last European Championship final. Despite an unbeaten campaign, England produced two draws against Ukraine and North Macedonia while playing away from home, conceding the first goal in both games. Defensive concerns have been raised, but with a group of experienced players who have proven their abilities in high-pressure situations, England should win their group.

Latest team news

Confirmed Serbia XI: Rajkovic; Milenkovic, Veljkovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, S.Milinkovic-Savic, Lukic, Gudelj, Kostic; Mitrovic, Vlahovic

Serbia have a wealth of experience, boasting nine players in their squad with over 40 international caps. Mitrović, known to Premier League supporters, plays for Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia’s top division. Tadić is still a virtuoso at Fenerbahçe after a successful stint with Dutch giants Ajax, while Luka Jović has regained his form after a few difficult years. The current number one goalkeeper is Vanja Milinković-Savić, who faces competition from Đorđe Petrović, especially following standout performances when filling in for Robert Sánchez at Chelsea.

Heading into this opener, there is uncertainty about whether Serbia will begin with two strikers, Dušan Vlahović and Mitrović. In recent friendlies, Nemanja Gudelj made a case to start in two different positions: midfield or even as a defender alongside Strahinja Pavlović and Nikola Milenković.

Latest England team news

Confirmed England XI: Pickford, Walker, Guehi, Stones, Trippier, Alexander-Arnold, Rice, Foden, Bellingham, Saka, Kane

It’s amazing to see how much has changed for England in just a few months. At the beginning of the current domestic season, no one would have predicted that Palmer could start in England’s tournament opener. However, things are different now, as the former Manchester City academy player has had an incredible debut season at Chelsea, second only to Erling Haaland in the Premier League Golden Boot race.

The question for Southgate is where to place him in England’s lineup. Some people think Palmer will compete with Saka, who has also been impressive, for a right-flank position to support first-choice striker Harry Kane.

Elsewhere, there seems to be some uncertainty about who will partner Rice in the midfield. It seems right-back Alexander-Arnold will  be chosen over Kobbie Mainoo and Connor Gallagher. Whether this is the case by the knockout stage is in doubt for some.

“[England] will be fine in the group,” said former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland midfielder Roy Keane while covering Spain’s win over Croatia for ITV. “Trent will be fine in those matches. But against the really top teams, I think he will be found out very much so. I think if he plays against one of the better teams in the center of midfield, he will be ripped to shreds. I don’t think he will be up to it.”

In defence, Guehi is expected to play alongside Stones in defence, while Shaw is anticipated to be held back for Matchday 2.

Serbia vs England Head-to-Head

This will be the first meeting between England and an independent Serbian team.

Serbia vs England H2H
Date Score Ground
03/06/2003 England 2-1 Serbia & Montenegro Walkers Stadium
13/12/1989 England 2-1 Yugoslavia Wembley
11/11/1987 Yugoslavia 1-4 England Stadion Crvene Zvezde
12/11/1986 England 2-0 Yugoslavia Wembley
05/06/1974 Yugoslavia 2-2 England Stadion Crvene Zvezde
11/10/1972 England 1-1 Yugoslavia Wembley

How to watch Serbia vs England Live

The tie will be shown on free-to-air TV on BBC One, as well as online on BBC iPlayer.

Every Euro 2024 game will be shown live on either BBC or ITV, with the two platforms sharing the broadcast rights.