Raheem Sterling talks up England’s mental strength


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Raheem Sterling feels England boss Gareth Southgate has prepared his team for any mental challenge they may face during the World Cup.

England overcame an often ill-tempered last-16 clash with Colombia on Tuesday, prevailing in a penalty shootout, to set up a quarter-final against Sweden on Saturday.

According to Sterling, that game has proved England are equipped to deal with whatever comes their way.

The Manchester City forward came in for some intimidation from Colombian players and coaching staff, though he says his manager had prepared him for that eventuality.

“Before the tournament (Southgate) has given us everything that could be thrown at us – every single possibility from going behind to the opposition trying to get you yellow or red cards. We knew we had to keep our heads,” he said.

He also paid tribute to skipper Harry Kane, who kept his composure despite a long delay to convert the second-half penalty that gave England the lead against Colombia. The Spurs forward was also on target in the shoot-out.

“For H’s penalty we stuck together and we were trying to get the players away from each other,” said Sterling.

“It is credit to him – he works on this stuff in training every single day. Repetition. He keeps a cool head and I had no doubt even in the back of my mind that he wouldn’t put it away.”

England are 1.95 to beat Sweden and book their first appearance in a World Cup semi-final since 1990.

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