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England Faces Serbia in Euro Opener with Defensive Concerns

Under pressure to win the first major men's trophy since 1966, Coach Gareth Southgate faces pivotal decisions for England’s Euro 2024 opener against Serbia. England’s defense is weakened by injuries and a virus, with key players possibly sidelined. Offensively, England remains strong with Captain Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, and Jude Bellingham leading the attack.
Under pressure to win the first major men's trophy since 1966, Coach Gareth Southgate must decide whether to risk center-half John Stones, who has recently overcome an injury and was isolated from the squad this week due to a virus.

Left-back Luke Shaw is expected to miss the Group C opener in Gelsenkirchen as he recovers from a hamstring injury suffered in February.

Despite losing their final warm-up game 1-0 at home to Iceland a week ago, England boasts one of the most potent attacks in Germany.

Captain Harry Kane looks to be flanked by in-form Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka, with playmaker Jude Bellingham adding an attacking threat from midfield.

England’s defense, weakened by injuries, will see Lewis Dunk potentially making his first major tournament appearance in the center alongside newcomer Ezri Konsa if Stones is not risked.

Harry Maguire’s injury has left right-footed Kieran Trippier to cover the left until Shaw's return.

Serbia, led by coach Dragan Stojkovic, poses an offensive threat with Aleksandar Mitrovic, who scored 28 goals in 28 matches in the Saudi Pro League, and Juventus' Dusan Vlahovic, who has 13 national goals in 27 games.

Pivotal to England's defensive strategy will be Declan Rice, expected to act as a midfield shield.

Southgate has options like Conor Gallagher, 19-year-old Kobbie Mainoo, and 20-year-old Adam Wharton to play alongside Rice.

England’s offense includes talents like Cole Palmer, Anthony Gordon, and Eberechi Eze poised to feature from the bench.

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