Jude Bellingham "has everything to win the next Ballon d'Or", Serbia skipper Dusan Tadic insisted after his side fell victim to England's star midfielder.

Bellingham was the hero with his first-half header ensuring Gareth Southgate's side got off to a winning start at Euro 2024, as they edged out the Eagles 1-0 in Gelsenkirchen.

The Real Madrid midfielder built on the momentum from his memorable debut season with Los Blancos, for whom he scored 23 goals and helped win LaLiga and the Champions League.

The second player after Michael Owen to score at the World Cup and European Championship before turning 21, he is also the first to do so for the Three Lions while playing his club football outside of England.

And Tadic, who appeared as a second-half substitute in Serbia's first match at the European Championship as a unified nation, paid tribute to the 20-year-old.

When asked whether he thought Bellingham was the difference in the Group C contest, the Eagles skipper told reporters: "Yes, definitely. I think he is a great player and a great personality. I think he has everything to win the next Ballon d'Or.

"I think everything that he did was great today, he showed personality, he took England to the next level. He was always asking for the ball and I think he had a great game.

"What I think is most important for such a young player is that he always takes responsibility. That is amazing to see, and you can see he is very hungry."

Jude Bellingham "has everything to win the next Ballon d'Or", Serbia skipper Dusan Tadic insisted after his side fell victim to England's star midfielder.

Bellingham was the hero with his first-half header ensuring Gareth Southgate's side got off to a winning start at Euro 2024, as they edged out the Eagles 1-0 in Gelsenkirchen.

The Real Madrid midfielder built on the momentum from his memorable debut season with Los Blancos, for whom he scored 23 goals and helped win LaLiga and the Champions League.

The second player after Michael Owen to score at the World Cup and European Championship before turning 21, he is also the first to do so for the Three Lions while playing his club football outside of England.

And Tadic, who appeared as a second-half substitute in Serbia's first match at the European Championship as a unified nation, paid tribute to the 20-year-old.

When asked whether he thought Bellingham was the difference in the Group C contest, the Eagles skipper told reporters: "Yes, definitely. I think he is a great player and a great personality. I think he has everything to win the next Ballon d'Or.

"I think everything that he did was great today, he showed personality, he took England to the next level. He was always asking for the ball and I think he had a great game.

"What I think is most important for such a young player is that he always takes responsibility. That is amazing to see, and you can see he is very hungry."

Jude Bellingham became the second player to score at the World Cup and European Championship before turning 21, with the opening goal against Serbia at Euro 2024.

The Real Madrid midfielder opened the Three Lions' account in Germany, heading home Bukayo Saka's cross in the 13th minute of the Group C clash.

Bellingham followed in the footsteps of compatriot Michael Owen, who found the net at the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship before turning 21.

The first European player to make an appearance at three major international tournaments before turning 21, the 20-year-old is also the first Three Lions player to score at both tournaments while playing his club football outside England.

His strike, timed at 12 minutes and 11 seconds, was also the quickest Serbia have conceded at a European Championship, since Frank Arnesen scored seven minutes and five seconds into their match against Denmark in 1984.

Kylian Mbappe accepts he will play no part at the forthcoming Paris Olympics, but hopes France "bring home the gold medal" in his absence.

The forward, who will join Real Madrid on June 30, was left out of Thierry Henry's provisional 25-man squad for the Games, which begins on July 24 - 10 days after the Euro 2024 final.

Mbappe had reportedly hoped to feature as one of Les Bleus' three overage players allowed per team in the primarily under-23 event.

However, Madrid ruled out the involvement of their players already featuring in the European Championship or Copa America.

"My club's position was very clear, so from that moment on, I think I won't be taking part in the games," Mbappe told reporters ahead of France's Euro 2024 opener against Austria.

"That's just the way it is, and I understand that too. I’m joining a new team in September, so it's not the best way to start an adventure.

"Now, I think I'm going to wish this French team all the best. I'm going to watch every game. Of course, as a fan, things will change. I hope they'll bring home the gold medal."

Mbappe's full attention is now on aiming to help France land a record-equalling third European Championship title in Germany.

The 25-year-old, who missed training earlier this week, provided an update on his fitness.

"I think the most important thing is not necessarily the physical, but the mental," he said. "How far I'm willing to go to win, that's the most important thing.

"I'm ready to win, it's more of a mental issue. My head is perfect, now let's see how my legs are. The most important thing is to be connected and to be fully invested in the mission we have, which is to win the match."

Cristiano Ronaldo says Portugal "deserve to win" Euro 2024, as the skipper issued a rallying cry to the 2016 champions.

Roberto Martinez's side are among the favourites to go all the way in Germany, where they begin their campaign against Czechia on Tuesday, before facing Turkiye and debutants Georgia in Group F.

Portugal were the only nation in qualifying to progress with a 100 per cent record as they won all 10 of their matches, scoring 36 goals and conceding just two, though their impressive form stalled with defeats against Croatia and Slovenia in recent friendlies.

Ronaldo, who netted 10 times in qualifying, is set to become the first player to feature in six editions of the European Championship, in which he already holds the record for most appearances (25) and goals (14).

The 39-year-old is joined by the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix, Rafael Leao and Goncalo Ramos in a star-studded squad he feels are more than capable of going all the way and landing a second European crown.

"I believe that this generation deserves to win a competition of this magnitude," said Ronaldo, who captained Portugal to glory eight years ago. "Semi-finals? I hope we can go further.

"We have to go step by step, live in the moment, be calm, work as well as we have until now, believe that it is possible. We know it's a short competition, but the team is ready.

"It's getting off to a good start, which is essential. I feel ready, I've prepared myself for this competition.

"It's my sixth European Championship, it's about enjoying it in the best possible way, playing well and making sure the team can win."

Conor Gallagher is parking any thoughts about his Chelsea future to focus on England's bid for Euro 2024 glory in Germany.

The 24-year-old midfielder has been linked with a Stamford Bridge exit amid reports the Blues might cash in to ease their Profit and Sustainability rules situation, with any sale for Gallagher classed as 100 per cent profit due to the fact he came through the academy.

Tottenham and Aston Villa are among those to have been linked with a move for Gallagher, who was one of Chelsea's more consistent performers in a topsy-turvy 2023-24 Premier League campaign.

However, Gallagher - chosen for a second successive major tournament - is not allowing himself to look beyond the Euros as Gareth Southgate's men prepare to begin their Group C campaign against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday.

In quotes reported by BBC Sport, Gallagher said: "I'm a Chelsea player right now and I'm just thinking about England and the tournament.

"It's not difficult. I'm away with England and I couldn't be happier with the position I'm in.

"I've just been focusing on England. This is the most important thing right now for me and the country.

"I'm hoping I can help the team more on the pitch in this tournament."

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia says Georgia are ready to "leave our mark" and "write a new page of history" on their major international tournament debut at Euro 2024.

Willy Sagnol's side, who qualified via the play-offs after beating former champions Greece on penalties, are the only debutants in Germany, where they commence their campaign against Turkiye on June 18.

The Crusaders will also play Portugal and Czechia in Group F, with Kvaratskhelia insisting he and his team-mates are not appearing in the tournament just to make up the numbers.

The Napoli winger, who helped the Partenopei to the 2022-23 Scudetto, scored four goals for Georgia during qualifying, in which he also completed the joint-most dribbles along with Belgium's Jeremy Doku (both 44).

On being considered his nation's talisman, the 23-year-old said: "This is a very big responsibility, and I am grateful when my work is appreciated.

"There are a lot of Georgian footballers who could become the best player of the country; every one of us tries to be a team, and individual success is less important to us at the moment.

"We are very focused and will do our best to succeed. It's a pleasure for me to play at Euro 2024. These are unforgettable moments and emotions which we will remember for the rest of our lives.

"It was the greatest dream of every Georgian to become a part of such an important tournament, and it was the happiest day for all of us when we achieved it.

"But we didn't come here just to attend; we wish to leave our mark on Euro 2024, to write a new page of history. We will do our utmost for this. Our team is very focused and ready for this tournament."

When they face Turkiye, Georgia will be aiming to become the fourth European Championship debutants since 2012 to win their maiden match at the finals after Ukraine (2012), Wales (2016) and Finland (2020).

England have started to plan for life after Gareth Southgate but Football Association executive Mark Bullingham insists no approach has been made for the manager, nor has his future been decided.

The Three Lions boss raised questions over his future after German media outlet BILD published an interview this week from Southgate, who suggested Euro 2024 this month is his last chance with England.

Manchester United were reportedly interested in the 53-year-old as well before reaffirming their commitment to under-fire manager Erik ten Hag.

As the European Championship awaits in Germany, Bullingham sought to ease any fears over the future of Southgate, though reiterated the FA has already thought through a succession plan.

"Gareth has been really, really clear that he wants to talk about that after the tournament," Bullingham said.

"And I don't want to provide any distraction for him and the team, and I want to respect the fact that he wants to talk about the future after the tournament.

 "I've seen some things about, 'Have we got a plan, haven't we?' Any organisation has a succession plan in place for their top employees, and we are no different to that.

"A succession plan normally includes everything from what you do for the short-term cover, through to a process you follow, through to [drawing up] a candidate pool. We have that for all our top employees."

Bullingham also assured that Southgate's future will not be dictated by success at Euro 2024, with the manager's contract set to expire in December.

"[The team] could go further but be playing poorly or have a really unlucky result where you get a couple of red cards and hit the woodwork three times," the FA chief added.

"I think setting an arbitrary figure isn't the right way to go. I think we step back and look at everything after the tournament."

In a staunch defence of Southgate, Bullingham lauded the job the former England international has done, guiding the Three Lions to the Euro 2020 final and World Cup semi-finals in 2018.

"I would say I think the world of Gareth, I think he has done a phenomenal job," Bullingham said.

"I think he has transformed the fortunes of our team, and that's not just off the pitch, and you can see the culture, but also the performances on the pitch.

"Since 1966, he has won about half of our knockout games, which is a measure we really use, so we value him massively."

Should Southgate leave, Bullingham remains open to bringing in another homegrown talent to manage England.

"We have two senior coaches," he continued. "One of them is English, one of them [England women's boss Sarina Wiegman] is not.

"Any federation in the world would always want to have a pool of top homegrown talent playing and managing at any time."

Joshua Zirkzee is reportedly drawing interest from Milan, Juventus and Manchester United, and will have the chance to further his stock after a late call-up for the Netherlands at Euro 2024.

Oranje boss Ronald Koeman has lost Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners, as well as midfielder Marten de Roon, in the build-up to the tournament in Germany.

Koeman criticised former club Barcelona for their handling of the injured De Jong before Koopmeiners' absence was also confirmed this week in another blow for the Netherlands.

Ajax forward Brian Brobbey is another said to be struggling for fitness, forcing the Dutch to act swiftly with reinforcements.

Zirkzee's inclusion was confirmed on Wednesday as the Netherlands added the striker to their international camp ahead of their tournament opener against Poland on Sunday.

The 23-year-old does not have a single senior cap under his belt for the Netherlands, but did score seven goals in 19 caps for the Under-21 side.

Zirkzee found the net 12 times in 37 appearances for Bologna in the 2023-24 campaign as the Serie A side qualified for next season's Champions League.

That form has reportedly drawn interest from Erik ten Hag's Man Utd, Juventus – who appointed Thiago Motta as their new head coach on Wednesday – and Milan.

Ian Maatsen, who reached the Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund this year, is the other man brought in for the Netherlands to fill the void left by De Jong and Koopmeiners.

The Netherlands also face Austria and France in Group D at Euro 2024, where Germany open the tournament against Scotland on Friday.

Kylian Mbappe hopes to avoid any hangover from World Cup disappointment as the France forward searches for his elusive final international crown at Euro 2024.

The Real Madrid-bound forward scored a hat-trick in the final of FIFA's global tournament in 2022, though that was not enough to stop Argentina from winning on penalties in Saudi Arabia.

Another major tournament is on the horizon as the European Championship awaits in Germany, where Didier Deschamps' side rank as the favourites alongside Gareth Southgate's England.

Euros success is the only glory missing from Mbappe's glittering resume, having won the World Cup in 2018 and the Nations League as well, though the 25-year-old hopes to end that this time around.

The former Paris Saint-Germain told CNN Sport: "I want to win the Euros. I have to be honest. I won the World Cup. I won the Nations League.

"That's the only one that missed me with the national team after I did everything with the national team. I really want to win this.

"My first competition as captain, so it's really important for me and it's always important for the country and we want them to be proud of us.

"[It's] another opportunity to write the history of my country."

Mbappe endured a woeful tournament at Euro 2020, failing to score from chances amounting to 1.7 xG in four games, before missing the vital penalty as France lost to Switzerland in a last-16 shoot-out.

Coming into this tournament on the back of a 44-goal season with PSG and with his long-term future decided, few would back a repeat from Madrid's newest Galactico. 

France open their group-stage campaign against Austria on Monday before facing the Netherlands and Austria in a testing pool.

Mbappe believes Les Bleus can take the learnings from the last World Cup into their next quest for the European crown.

"I think we have to move forward," the world-class forward added. "Of course, we were hurt, to see that you're close to something...

"Close to the back-to-back. Something amazing. Something historic. Everybody loved the game except for us.

"We didn't like that, but it's part of the game. Now, when I watch the video of the game, I watch with a smile because it's part of the history and we know what we have to do if we go again in the final.

"We have to play all the game and have no reaction."

UEFA is preparing for a landmark moment at Euro 2024 as Europe's governing body revealed plans to communicate VAR decisions on stadium screens in Germany.

The organisation had already announced last month that refereeing calls would be explained in detail to international captains, who should be the only players to speak to the officials.

Any team-mate ignoring their captain's role and approaching the referee showing any sign of disrespect or dissent will receive a yellow card.

Yet UEFA confirmed another refereeing initiative at the upcoming tournament as officials will explain decisions to the crowd via stadium screens across June and July.

"This is something new. I think it's very, very, very interesting," UEFA's managing director for refereeing Roberto Rosetti said on Wednesday.

"So we want to give, after the opinion of VAR, a technical explanation for the public.

"In live, simultaneously, the UEFA expert will prepare the explanation, a technical explanation about what happened in the specific situation.

"For example, on-field review, the referee awards a penalty for handball...

"Technical explanation: Germany number nine touched the ball with his left arm in an unnatural position above the shoulder and making his body bigger."

Rosetti has already been leading the way in reaching out to teams and players to inform them of the new protocols at the European Championship.

That includes reinforcing the message that dangerous tackles will be greeted with serious disciplinary punishment.

"One of the most important priorities in refereeing guidelines is to protect the players," Rosetti added.

"To protect the image of the game, but in particular to protect the safety of the main actors of the games.

"We showed them a couple of clips that we are asking to the referees to be very strong in these kinds of situations.

"So for such situations, we asked the referees to be zero tolerant because this is something that we cannot accept."

Germany open the Euro 2024 tournament in their curtain-raiser against Scotland in Munich on Friday.

Adam Wharton does not expect age to be a barrier to his England hopes at Euro 2024 as the midfielder revelled in a "surreal feeling" ahead of the major tournament.

Crystal Palace's Wharton was playing Championship football with Blackburn Rovers until his January move to the Premier League.

The next step on his seismic rise comes this month after making Gareth Southgate's final squad for the upcoming European Championship.

That reward followed after a remarkable second half to the season for Wharton, who is already attracting interest from Europe's elite clubs following his impressive showings for Oliver Glasner's Palace.

Wharton, aged just 20 for this UEFA tournament in Germany, wants to leave his mark and believes chances are there to be taken, despite his relative inexperience compared to his team-mates.

"There are still players that have been in the team for a long time and some top young players in the team... I think it's good to have that little mix," Wharton said on Wednesday.

"If you're good enough, you're old enough.

"It's a surreal feeling. Honestly, I wasn't expecting it. Just a dream come true. Every kid who grows up playing football wants to play in the Premier League, and play for their country.

"I got to play for the team I supported to begin with, really enjoyed that and then it has continued since. Moving to the Premier League, now here, so it's all been very fast but I wouldn't want it any other way.

"I have really enjoyed the last six months and I just want to keep playing, getting better."

Wharton will battle with Declan Rice, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Gallagher and Kobbie Mainoo for a role in Southgate's midfield, while Jude Bellingham remains an option if moved deeper.

That does not concern the 20-year-old, however, as Wharton realises his dreams on the international scene.

"I am just absolutely delighted," he added. "I get to do what I love on the top stage, you can't beat it."

Ronald Koeman says Frenkie de Jong and Barcelona are equally responsible for the Netherlands midfielder missing out on Euro 2024 through injury.

De Jong was ruled out of the tournament after failing to recover from an ankle injury sustained during Barca's Clasico defeat by Real Madrid on April 21.

The 27-year-old was named in the provisional Dutch squad, but it was confirmed he would play no part following their final warm-up match against Iceland on Monday.

Koeman initially criticised the Blaugrana's handling of De Jong's injury and, on Wednesday, said the issue "also depends on the player himself". 

However, the Netherlands head coach is keen to move forward, with the Oranje opening their Group D campaign against Poland on Sunday.

"There is little point in answering questions about topics that are no longer current," he told reporters in Wolfsburg. "We haven't talked about it since we got here."

"Of course, it also depends on the player himself. I have also spoken to Frenkie about this, but that remains between me and the player. I have a little more inside information, but I'm done with it now."

Borussia Dortmund's Ian Maatsen was called up in De Jong's place, though Koeman opted not to draft in a replacement for Teun Koopmeiners, who was also ruled out of Euro 2024 with a groin injury.

Explaining his reasons, the head coach said: "Ian was already in the pre-selection, he is a multi-functional player who has only been out of action for a week. All other options have been gone for three weeks, I don't know where they all are.

"Within these 25 remaining players, we can go in any direction. We play with three midfielders and we have five. And you can always move someone one spot back, or someone from the back one line forward.

"It will never be an excuse in this tournament, no matter what happens, not to have called up a 26th player."

Ilkay Gundogan says it will be "a huge honour and privilege" to lead host nation Germany in what will be a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" at Euro 2024. 

The three-time champions will host their first major international tournament since the 2006 World Cup, where they finished third after losing to eventual champions Italy in the semi-finals. 

Julian Nagelsmann's side are seeking an upturn in fortunes, having suffered back-to-back World Cup group-stage exits, while they were beaten by England in the round of 16 at Euro 2020.

Germany, whose final two warm-up games brought a goalless draw with Ukraine and a narrow 2-1 win over Greece, have conceded at least one goal in each of their last 12 games at major tournaments, last keeping a clean sheet against Slovakia in the round of 16 at Euro 2016.

DFB will launch the tournament at Munich Football Arena on Friday against Scotland, a team they have beaten in both previous major tournament encounters at the 1986 World Cup and 1992 European Championship.

And former Manchester City captain Gundogan, who skippered the Citizens to an historic treble in 2022-23, hopes he can use his leadership skills to inspire his nation to a strong showing on home soil.

"It's a huge honour, a huge privilege to be captain," the Barcelona midfielder said. "I have experienced an awful lot in my career, lots of great times but also lots of difficult times. I kind of know what it takes to be successful.

"All I can do is lead from the front, both on and off the pitch. I think the people of Germany – not just the fans – deserve some success.

"We know it'll be a tough game against Scotland. They have a lot of quality, lots of stars from the Premier League, so it's going to be a challenge, but we are confident.

"We're very well set up, full of quality and there's lots of potential in the squad; we just have to deliver now. We haven't done ourselves justice in recent tournaments.

"We hope this time that we benefit somewhat from the euphoria in our home country and the support of the fans, and that this carries us along. But we know we first have to earn the trust of our fans on the pitch. If we do, I think we will go a long way.

"Playing a [tournament] in your own country is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so obviously it feels really special."

Gundogan also praised the impact of Nagelsmann, who is preparing for his first major international tournament as head coach since replacing Hansi Flick last September.

The 36-year-old is aiming to become the first Germany boss to win a competition at his first attempt since Jupp Derwall at the 1980 European Championship.

"He has brought structure to the team," Gundogan observed. "He has clear ideas about what he wants, but still, there is a calmness about how the coaching team deals with the squad, and there's a sense that they have confidence in the players, which reflects well on us.

"We knew that not everything would go perfectly, we knew we would make mistakes, but we have always felt that the coach was right behind the team. We have the right set-up and are capable of producing our best, to pay back the confidence he has in us."

England have never boasted stronger competition for places than at the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament, according to Three Lions winger Anthony Gordon.

The Newcastle United forward will feature at his first major tournament with Gareth Southgate's senior side, who start their campaign against Serbia on Sunday.

Bukayo Saka, Cole Palmer, Phil Foden, Jarrod Bowen and Eberechi Eze are all other wide options as Southgate prepares to choose between a wealth of attacking riches on the wings.

Gordon believes England have rarely enjoyed such a depth of talent, heading into the tournament in Germany where they are seen as favourites alongside France.

"A few people have said it where the squad has never been so competitive in terms of everyone is in form and everyone has come here in a really good place," he said.

"There is definitely competition for places. Everyone is going to be at their best to try and play."

Manchester City defender John Stones offered cause for concern after an injury during Friday's surprise 1-0 defeat against Iceland, though was involved in training ahead of England's opener in Gelsenkirchen.

Luke Shaw also featured in the pre-tournament session but the Manchester United full-back will be managed closely as his recovery from a hamstring issue continues.

"I was a bit worried when [Stones] went down [against Iceland] because he's such a big player for us but he's fine," Gordon added. "He's got an elite mentality, so I've had faith in him.

"[Shaw] is back in training now and doing really well. I did a bit of my rehab with him and he was way far ahead of schedule. He was doing great, which is good."

Southgate hit the headlines on Monday after suggesting the European Championship marked his "last chance" as England manager.

Yet Gordon hopes the England boss continues his tenure past when his current contract is due to end in December.

"From a selfish point I would want him to stay," he continued. "I love working with him and his staff.

"From my youth journey with England, the way they have transitioned the whole set-up from youth to senior level has been absolutely amazing and I don't think they get the credit he deserves."

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