Euro 2021: Raheem Sterling’s double revenge

Let’s call it the Sterling Paradox. While the main architect of England’s success since the start of this Euro is undoubtedly Raheem Sterling, the front pages of the British newspapers on Thursday 8 July were mostly devoted to his accomplice in the attack, Harry Kane. “Kane You believe it! “ headlined for example the very popular Daily Mail after the victory, Wednesday, against Denmark, and therefore the qualification of the “three lions” for their first final in a major tournament since their victory in the World Cup in 1966.

The best Englishman of this Euro and the most decisive, Wednesday, in the semi-final was however not the captain and famous player of Tottenham, but indeed Raheem Sterling, the lively winger of Manchester City. After having scored all the goals of the selection during the group stage, it was he who caused the two goals against Denmark: that of the equalizer, by pushing an unfortunate Dane to throw the ball into his own goal, then that of victory by inciting – perhaps wrongly – the referee to whistle a penalty converted by the popular Kane.

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The angry tattoo

Have the major English newspapers gone blind? Of course not, but they are not deaf to the negative comments of their readers focused on the native of Kingston (Jamaica) and naturalized English. The press even demanded his exclusion from the team on the eve of the 2018 World Cup. Notably because of a tattoo in the shape of a machine gun inscribed on his calf, which had been interpreted as an apology for the violence coming from a Brent kid. , popular and dangerous area where he grew up after his mother arrived in England.

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The defense of the interested party arguing on the contrary that this tattoo, of doubtful taste, enabled him to push away the memory of the assassination of his father before his own eyes, had not been heard.

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“When I was two my father was shot dead and I made a promise to myself that I would never touch a gun in my life. I shoot with the right foot, so it has a deeper meaning and the drawing is not finished ”, he had declared.

He had also completed it a few weeks later with another tattoo representing him kissing his baby. Lost, the machine was on. He was then criticized for having bought a house considered flashy to his mother, whom he accompanied as a child to the hotels where she cleaned.

And especially not to score enough in Manchester City, where his coach, the Spaniard Pep Guardiola, confined him for a good part of the season on the substitutes’ bench: this year, he has scored only 10 goals, all of them competitions combined, while he counted 22 during the 2018-2019 season.

“He must always prove to people that they are wrong”

Like Karim Benzema or Neymar, Raheem Sterling always has to show more than others on the pitch for extra-sporting reasons. Just before the Euro, his coach Gareth Southgate, who has never let go despite his empty spell at the club, had noted. “Raheem must always prove to people that they are wrong (on him, Editor’s note) , he said before adding: “He’s been huge for us for three, four years. He knows that we have faith, confidence in him, his performances with us were electric. “

This update aimed at the British media concerns only moderately viewers of this Euro unaware of the domestic concerns of a player, of whom they especially saw the audacity, the technique and the speed (he is almost as fast as Kylian Mbappé). Which could earn him the title of best player of the tournament, if the English win, this Sunday, July 11, in the final against the Italians. Perhaps it will emerge on this occasion the tweet he had published on June 13, just before the Euro: “Never forget where it all started”.


First English final in half a century

♦ Fourth in the world ranking of nations, England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup (beaten by Croatia), as in 1990. But her best result remains the title in the 1966 World Cup, which she won at home, in the old Wembley Stadium.

♦ A failed semi-final for the coach in 1996. England’s last appearance in a one-Euro semi-final had gone badly for current England manager Gareth Southgate. Then player, he had missed a penalty during the penalty shootout which sent Germany to the final.


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