Croatia fear England’s Sterling in World Cup semi-final

Raheem Sterling at World Cup in Russia

Raheem Sterling at World Cup in Russia

Midfielder Eric Dier has said that he is "so, so happy" for the recognition that England and Tottenham Hotspur teammate Kieran Trippier has received during the World Cup.

Sterling endured vitriolic abuse after a series of tame performances at Euro 2016, and he was widely criticised again ahead of the World Cup for having a tattoo of a gun on his leg.

Despite Sterling's fine display on Saturday, he has come under fire in some quarters for an inability to finish chances in an England shirt but clubmate Kyle Walker defended the 23-year-old.

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

'People think he's weak but I've seen countless players ride his back because he's that strong.

He actually mentioned Sterling a second time, praising his pace and power, and said he and his coaching team would be analysing England more closing over the next two days and passing that information on to his players.

"But we believe in our strengths, too".

Croatia's shoot-out victory over Russian Federation was their second straight win on penalties at the World Cup, having beaten Denmark in the same fashion in the last-16, and Dalic admitted that playing 120 minutes twice in the last six days was not ideal, particularly as some of his players are now carrying injuries.

"But we are looking forward to a different style of game against England because they like to play attacking football".

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. He would have knocked that one in over the top, he's got a great touch.