Sterling defends dubious penalty award in England semi-final win

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Raheem Sterling goes to ground for England's decisive penalty against Denmark
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Raheem Sterling said a foul on him that led to England's winning goal in their 2-1 extra-time victory over Denmark in Wednesday's Euro 2020 semi-final was a "clear penalty".

The Manchester City forward went to ground following a challenge by Joakim Maehle after bursting into the Denmark area in the first half of extra time.

Harry Kane had his spot-kick saved by Kasper Schmeichel but the England captain tucked away the rebound to send his team through to Sunday's final against Italy.

"I went into the box and he stuck his right leg out, and it touched my leg so it was a clear penalty," Sterling told ITV.

"It was a top performance -- we had to dig in deep after the first goal we conceded in the tournament, and we regrouped well and showed a good team spirit to come back and win the game.

"It was difficult going behind but we knew we had to stay patient -- we knew with the legs we've got, the aggressiveness and the power we have in the team, it would be a matter of time before we broke them down."

England reached their first major final since winning the 1966 World Cup, with Sterling a standout performer once more for Gareth Southgate's side at Wembley.

"It's another step in the right direction," said Sterling.

"But once we're back in the dressing room it's over and we've got to focus on the weekend now. It's step-by-step and that's all we can do."

mw/as

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