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‘It Was a Penalty’: Raheem Sterling Defends Controversial Decision

Opinions have been polarised on the awarding of penalty (AFP Photo)

Opinions have been polarised on the awarding of penalty (AFP Photo)

There was controversy over the decision to award England a penalty for a foul on Sterling, but the Manchester City forward felt the referee made the right call.

England forward Raheem Sterling said they showed a great team spirit to come from a goal behind to beat Denmark 2-1 in their Euro 2020 semi-final on Wednesday, and insisted the focus has shifted straight away to Sunday’s final against Italy.

Mikkel Damsgaard gave Denmark a first-half lead at Wembley, but Harry Kane’s finish on the rebound after his extra-time penalty was saved completed the turnaround for England and earned them a first-ever European Championship final place.

“It was a top performance,” Sterling said. “We had to dig deep, it was the first time we had conceded in the tournament, we regrouped well and showed a great team spirit to win the game.

“We just had to stay patient. We knew that with the aggression we had in the team, the pace, the power, it was a matter of time before we brought them down and we got the penalty in the end.

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“It is another step in the right direction. Once we stepped into the dressing room, that is it, over, and we focus on the weekend. Step by step, that’s how we do it.”

There was controversy over the decision to award England a penalty for a foul on Sterling, but the Manchester City forward felt the referee made the right call.

“I went into the box, he stuck his right leg out, and he touched my leg so it was a penalty,” Sterling added.

Kane’s goal means the Tottenham Hotspur striker is now England’s joint-highest scorer in major tournaments, moving level with Gary Lineker on 10 goals.

“Unbelievable – what a game though, credit to Denmark,” Kane said. “We dug deep and we got there when it mattered. We reacted really well – we’re in a final at home, what a feeling.

“We know it’s going to be a very tough game against Italy we’ve had a great tournament so far. One more game to go at home and we can’t wait.”

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