Raheem Sterling thanks England fans after reaching ‘dream’ World Cup semi-final

Gareth Southgate

REUTERSGareth Southgate admits the team as a group have been through so much already

The Manchester City winger has come under fire by pundits and supporters, even before the World Cup started, when his choice of tattoos were questioned by British tabloids.

Despite excelling at Manchester City this season, scoring 23 goals in all competitions, the 23-year-old has come in for criticism for his displays in Russian Federation. Beckham and Sir Geoff Hurst, though, defended Sterling's displays after the quarter-final win against Sweden.

Sterling has started four of England's five games on their run to the semi-finals, looking threatening at times yet unable to end an global goal drought that dates back to October 2015.

'I'm a big Vardy fan, I think he would have scored a couple against Sweden'.

"They are really good at set-pieces and their tall players are unsafe at corners".

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

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"I think Raheem Sterling is an important player because he is fast and unsafe alongside Harry Kane", said Dalic ahead of Wednesday's clash in Moscow.

He said on Twitter: "Today, I want to thank all that have and continue to support England as a team, this has helped us achieve what can only be described as a dream! We don't fear England or anybody else".

Croatia's shoot-out victory over Russian Federation was their second straight win on penalties at the World Cup, having beaten Denmark in the same fashion in the last-16, and Dalic admitted that playing 120 minutes twice in the last six days was not ideal, particularly as some of his players are now carrying injuries.

There is also much relief in the Croatia camp, which has now moved to Moscow after spending the last four weeks near Saint Petersburg, after Federation Internationale de Football Association made a decision to only warn defender Domagoj Vida for shouting "Glory to Ukraine", a highly-charged slogan in the current climate, in a post-match video that has gone viral in Russia.

"I think Raheem has been fundamental to the way we have played - his movement, the positions he takes up, his pressing of the ball, his work rate for the team, the winning of free-kicks, the winning of corners, his speed to stretch teams", Southgate told the ITV World Cup podcast. He would have knocked that one in over the top, he's got a great touch.

"If we had England's money, who knows where we'd be in our country?"

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