Croatia: “I had to score in my garden” … Sterling kept his word by scoring at his home in Wembley

Raheem Sterling – Laurence Griffiths / AP / SIPA

In Wembley,

There is unmissable and unmissable. A little less than a year ago, Raheem Sterling missed – we do not know how – in Lisbon the match point against Olympique Lyonnais in the quarter-final of the Champions League with Manchester City. The kind of stuff the attacker is capable of missing, him whose composure isn’t necessarily the strong point, when others would have put his fingers in his nose. And there is inevitable, like a promise that we make to ourselves and that nothing can shake. An event that we will not miss, because we decided by force of will that it will happen sooner or later (a hello to Thomas Meunier in passing).

Sterling’s goal against Croatia for the Three Lions’ entry into this Euro 2021 is in the second category, as the man of the match explained at the end of the meeting. “I always said if I played Wembley in a big competition I would score. I had to score in my garden and I’m so glad I did. “

Brent’s kid

His intelligent race to provoke the pass from Kalvin Philipps coupled with the gesture just in front of the Croatian goal and the leniency of Dominik Livakovic allowed the Sunday hero to take a weight off his shoulders. Because, and the story is already well known, Raheem Sterling grew up in the district of Brent, overlooked by the architectural colossus that is Wembley, where he spent a difficult childhood alongside his mother.

On Sunday, Sterling even posted a photo of him as a child, dressed as an aspiring footballer, on Twitter, with the comment: “Never forget where it all started.” #GamindeBrent “. It is therefore an understatement to say that this match, he was waiting for it.

Halftone season

But we cannot reduce the importance of Sterling’s goal for Sterling to the symbolism of the place. It would be to omit the athlete. Many English observers were surprised by the tenure of the former Liverpool player and wanted to know – even after his decisive goal – how Gareth Southgate saw what they failed to see in the player.

“He has been a very reliable player for us for quite a while, as his stats show, whether with us or at club, for two and a half years,” said the England manager. We can’t let all the weight of scoring goals on Harry Kane’s shoulders. We need players on the wings and in the middle who can make their contribution. “

Kane, in fact, was not very prominent on Sunday. Well taken by the Croatian central defense until his exit and probably still struck by the heart failure of his friend Christian Eriksen the day before, he will have had the merit of making room for Sterling, who therefore took the opportunity to unlock the machine . “I take pleasure in my football and I am just delighted to have scored”. A full of confidence which will perhaps give him the opportunity to regain the pleasure of scoring in “his” garden.

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