Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Eric Dier: Importance of `fantastic´ Raheem Sterling to…

Eric Dier: Importance of `fantastic´ Raheem Sterling to…

Sterling and co face Croatia on Wednesday evening, with the victor facing either France or Belgium in the final on Sunday in what is now an all-European affair, the third time this will have happened in four tournaments.

Having failed to score in an England shirt for almost three years, Sterling has been strongly criticised by supporters and some pundits, with the BBC's fan-driven player-rater tool repeatedly giving him the lowest mark on the team.

Going by the law of averages, he's bound to break his duck soon and might just score against Croatia to mark England's first World Cup semi-final appearance since 1990. Beckham and Sir Geoff Hurst, though, defended Sterling's displays after the quarter-final win against Sweden.

Raheem Sterling found himself at the centre of controversy in the run-up to the World Cup and is still searching for his best form in Russian Federation but coach Gareth Southgate insists he is a "fundamental" part of the England set-up.

"They showed from the games I've seen so far that they play direct football and they are very fast".

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Midfielder Eric Dier says that England and Tottenham Hotspur teammate Kieran Trippier deserves the recognition that he has received for his recent performances.

"I think Raheem Sterling is an important player because he is fast and risky alongside Harry Kane", Dalic said in a press conference Sunday.

"The way Raheem's handled everything from when we met up until now has been incredible", said Dier. "We don't fear England or anybody else".

"We as a country are united behind the team".

England now has to confront a harder test than their previous encounters in the semifinal where they will come up against Croatia who defeated Russian Federation earlier to progress into the next round.

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