Monday 16 July 2018

Raheem Sterling reveals what happened with Colombia coach who tried to shoulder barge him

Raheem Sterling was barged by a member of the Colombia coaching staff at the end of the first half (ITV)
Raheem Sterling was barged by a member of the Colombia coaching staff at the end of the first half (ITV)

Jack de Menezes

Raheem Sterling has addressed the bizarre incident that took place at half-time of England’s victory over Colombia that involved a member of the opposition’s coaching staff deliberately barging into him as he left the field.

Colombian assistant coach Eduardo Urtasun was seen on television replays running into Sterling, prompting a confused response from the England forward as he joined Jesse Lingard at the mouth of the tunnel.

The Manchester City star did well not to react to the obvious provocation, and speaking after the penalty shootout victory in Moscow on Tuesday, he admitted that he was prepared for such tactics to be used by the Colombians.

“I just remember running in and someone stepped in front of me,” Sterling said. “I just kinda looked back at him. But we knew their gameplan and what they were trying to do. We knew what would get thrown at us and that was kinda silly from him.

“We just keep going and block that out and focus on the ­football. They were a physical team. They were trying to do everything they could to get into our heads but we kept cool – and that’s the most important thing.”

Having been given the rough treatment on the pitch as well as off it – Colombia picked up six yellow cards to England’s two – England have been praised for fighting fire with fire without crossing the line, and Sterling’s composure when confronted by Urtasun was a clear sign that Gareth Southgate’s side were doing their best not to get rattled.

Sterling went on to reveal that Southgate had seen these tactics coming before the World Cup, and had suitably prepared his side to counter that prospect.

“Before the tournament the manager gave us ­everything that could be thrown at us – every possibility from going behind to the opposition trying to get you yellow or red cards,” he added. “I just tried to get on the ball as much as ­possible and to get behind them as well.”

Independent News Service

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