You are here: HomeSports2021 06 30Article 1298119

Sports News of Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Source: Betway Ghana

Is Sterling the man to power England to Euro glory?

The 26-year-old has been England's outstanding performer at the tournament The 26-year-old has been England's outstanding performer at the tournament

Raheem Sterling scored his third goal of Euro 2020 as England beat Germany 2-0 in the last 16 at Wembley; the 26-year-old has scored 15 times in 21 appearances for Gareth Southgate's side since his disappointing showings at the 2018 World Cup

Raheem Sterling watched with his head in his hands when six minutes after his opener, and with just nine minutes of the tie remaining, his loose pass had allowed Kai Havertz to send Thomas Muller sprinting through on goal. The equaliser felt like a crushing inevitability.

But it wasn't. In fact, it never came. Muller took his shot early as Jordan Pickford rushed out to meet him and it rolled past the post. Dread made way for relief. The England fans around Wembley roared with delight. Five minutes later, their one-goal lead became two.

Gareth Southgate had been at pains to point out this fixture's storied history was of little relevance to his youthful squad ahead of the game. The traumas of the past are not theirs to share, he said.

"This team are about making their own stories," he added.

And that is exactly what they have done. England still have a long way to go in this tournament but they have defeated Germany in a competitive game at Wembley for the first time since 1966 and their route onwards to the final is an easily navigable one.

Their progress, and this seismic victory, owe a lot to a player who grew up in the shadow of the stadium in which it has all unfolded.

It was Sterling, raised in the London borough of Brent, who broke the deadlock at Wembley on Tuesday, side footing home from Luke Shaw's cross, and it was Sterling whose goals against Croatia and the Czech Republic saw England through Group D.

The 26-year-old has been England's outstanding performer at a tournament in which most followers would have been happy to see him named on the bench rather than in the starting line-up.

Sterling had endured a difficult campaign with Manchester City domestically and, for many England supporters, memories of his performances at the 2018 World Cup are not fond ones.

Sterling, fiercely criticised before a ball had even been kicked in Russia over something as trivial as a tattoo on his leg, went on to miss a string of chances on their run to the semi-finals, extending a painful international goalless streak to 26 games for England and providing abundant ammunition for his critics.

But that barren run is a distant memory now.

Southgate's faith in Sterling has never wavered and England are reaping the rewards. The forward is on three goals from four games at Euro 2020 but this goalscoring form is nothing new.

In fact, since the World Cup, Sterling has scored 15 goals in 21 appearances for his country.

It represents an extraordinary turnaround for a player who only scored twice in his 44 appearances before that and it explains why he now plays with such swaggering confidence in an England shirt.

Euro 2020 is by courtesy BetWay. Bet responsibly. Not open to persons under 18 years.