Kyle Walker: Raheem Sterling is a defender’s nightmare

Raheem Sterling at World Cup in Russia

Former England skipper David Beckham has called on fans to stop slanging Raheem Sterling after the jet-heeled winger came in for a barrage of criticism following the Three Lions' 2-0 win over Sweden in their 2018 FIFA World Cup quarter-final.

Sterling and co face Croatia on Wednesday evening, with the victor facing either France or Belgium in the final on Sunday in what is now an all-European affair, the third time this will have happened in four tournaments.

Despite excelling at Manchester City this season, scoring 23 goals in all competitions, the 23-year-old has come in for criticism for his displays in Russian Federation. "I think he's had a fantastic World Cup".

"They play very direct football, dangerous, fast, and they are really good at setpieces, and dangerous at corner kicks".

The City star has learned to brush aside the off-pitch scrutiny, and teammate Eric Dier is in no doubt as to his contribution to England's success.

"I think Raheem Sterling is an important player because he is fast and risky alongside Harry Kane", said Dalic ahead of Wednesday's clash in Moscow.

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"The way Raheem's handled everything from when we met up until now has been incredible", said Dier.

"But we believe in our strengths, too".

England survived a penalty shootout against Colombia in the last 16 whereas Croatia emerged through extra-time and spot-kicks against Denmark before going through the same ordeal again against Russian Federation in Saturday's quarter-final.

Playing alongside Liverpool's Dejan Lovren, Vida has been one of the best defenders at Russian Federation 2018 and Dalic said he would be key to Croatia's plans to keeping Kane out, just as they stopped Argentina's Lionel Messi and Christian Eriksen of Denmark.

Gareth Southgate's men have reached the country's first semi-final at the tournament since 1990 as the team attempt to emulate the all-conquering side of 1966.

"Our league is not so strong but if we had England's money, who knows where we would be".

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