In many ways, England and Gareth Southgate had a dream start to Euro 2020, winning their first game in ten attempts, battling through the heat at Wembley, enacting a clear game-plan, limiting Croatia to 0.02 expected goals [xG], and the most controversial selections, from Kalvin Phillips to Raheem Sterling, excelling.
The congratulatory tone of post-match analysis is well-deserved, but it should be tempered. Croatia was awful, producing little offensively, and was unable to get the ball through the lines.
Because Sunday's opening may probably turn out to be England's easiest game of the group, Southgate's cautious play, sluggish performance, and narrow victory aren't necessarily indicative of his team's confidence.
Of course, there's no need to be pessimistic, but it would also be silly to take heart from a single 90 minutes against opponents who put up possibly the most inadequate performance of the competition thus far.
The intensity of England's pressing at the start of each half, Phillips' excellent performance – whose runs beyond Harry Kane into the right channel were a constant threat and directly led to the goal – and the link-up play between Mason Mount and Sterling, a persistent feature that played out for the winner – all give the reason for cautious optimism.
The only specific and lasting takeaway from the game is England's overall tactical direction in this tournament, and for better or worse, there was conclusive evidence Southgate will not embrace attacking football; will not unleash the country's best young forwards and play in the gung-ho system so many fans have yearned for.
On the eve of the tournament, a minor schism emerged between supporters of the manager's conservative instincts and those who wished for a more progressive coach to cram Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, and Mason Mount into the same team (with two of these riskily operating as the free eights' in midfield).
Despite playing in a 4-3-3 formation, England's performance against Croatia put paid to any hopes of Southgate becoming that type of manager; a Champions League-winning left-back, Ben Chilwell, was on the bench, Kieran Trippier was stuck on the wrong side, and Sterling was preferred over the more exciting Grealish or Sancho.
Those aren't the kinds of decisions a manager wants to rebrand England as Europe's entertainers would make. So instead, slow-burn tournament beckons, one characterized – regardless of how far England progresses – by conservative football that is, to be honest, a chore to watch.
That is almost certainly the inevitable result of fatigued players working diligently through the summer heat. However, it may also be the most effective way to advance far in the tournament.
We now know that a hesitant, slow-burn summer is ahead after a timid effort against a very mediocre Croatia on matchday one. That isn't to say that failure is a foregone outcome.
The joy or anguish of Euro 2020 will be determined not by the aesthetic but by how far England goes, despite all the Grealish shouting, despite all the groans when Trippier and Walker came to the field.
Southgate has given us few reasons to doubt him in his five years as manager.