Croatia fear England's Sterling in World Cup semis

Raheem Sterling England

He did miss a glorious chance to put England 2-0 up against Sweden, but his all round performance was widely-praised and Gareth Southgate has stuck by his man.

It was an otherwise-promising performance for Sterling, arguably his best of the competition, as he repeatedly found pockets of space and was a consistent danger against a solid defence.

Asked what it would mean to defeat England, Dalic said: "It's already a great achievement for us to be in the last four because some big teams are already swimming on their vacation - Argentina, Brazil, Germany and so on. Of course he hasn't scored the goals he would have liked to score but for myself and the players he has been a crucial part of the way we have been playing".

Some more hysterical commentators even called for him to be dropped from the squad.

However, the England manager is hesitant to change what has been a winning formula in Russian Federation and Sterling is odds on to retain his place in the lineup when the Three Lions take on Croatia in the semi-final on Wednesday night.

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The Manchester City star provided an explanation soon after , saying it was a tribute to his father who was murdered when Sterling was just two years old, but the scrutiny continued.

Raheem Sterling has been given a hard time by sections of the British media, but Eric Dier says he has been "incredible".

"He is getting in all the right positions, but sometimes you look at Sterling and you think, if he didn't have that pace he'd be playing for Exeter or someone".

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

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

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