Raheem Sterling: Every dribble analysed

8 min readJul 10, 2021


As the England squad look to place their names in the hearts of millions of their country’s fans, I examine one star performer, Raheem Sterling and his dribbling, reaching numbers unseen so far, this European Championships.

Dribble One:

Positionally Denmark are out of shape, Andreas Christensen is occupying the right wing-back role whilst Jens Stryger Larsen is taking up the place in right centre back in the Danish back three.

Instead of Larsen or Thomas Delaney going with Sterling, its left to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Hojbjerg is already 3 yards behind when Raheem starts to run, therefore when Sterling finally stops on the 18-yard line, Hojbjerg is, understandably, not able to ‘stop on a sixpence’ and overshoots his run, allowing Sterling to cut inside with ease.

Larsen engages with Raheem and the pass attempt to Harry Kane is deflect by him. The ball is cleared but only to Kyle Walker at the half-way line and England resume another attack.

Dribble Two:

Before the dribble, Larsen is the man covering Sterling on the break, but a ball in the air means he goes to challenge Kane for the ball, but Kane manages to play a ball over the top. Sterling’s first touch is sublime.

Much like the first dribble the quick change of direction causes him to be one step ahead of the defender. Christensen, who Raheem managed to get past with the touch, is not able to pressure Sterling who is able to pass off to Harry Kane.

Unfortunately, his final product lets him down and the pass ends up nearer the touchline than the goal. Kane manages to shield the ball as Joakim Maehle clumsily clatters into the back of him and wins a free kick.

Dribble Three:

The introduction of Jack Grealish for Bukayo Saka resulted in Sterling being pushed to the RW in the England 4–2–3–1 whilst chasing for a second goal. On the counterattack, Danish substitute Christian Norgaard drops back to form, essentially, a ‘back six’ to occupy the space between Simon Kjaer and Vestergaard.

Well versed playing both centre half and in the centre of midfield, having done so for Brentford this season, Norgaard presses Raheem quickly and a great slide tackle means he is dispossessed. The ball is progressed to Martin Braithwaite, but Harry Maguire intercepts and the ball is played to Grealish.

Dribble Four:

Maehle spots Sterling but is expecting some down time from when the foul is given and must tie his laces.

Sterling sticks to near the touchline and Walker’s quick-thinking results in Raheem controlling the ball in lots of space.

Sterling uses the space to his advantage, so when Maehle pressures he uses that as his sign to use a quick change of pace and get to the byline. He gets the pass off but Denmark has 9 players, 10 if you include Kasper Schmeichel, and Vestergaard intercepts and Denmark gain possession.

Dribble Five:

Maehle askes Braithwaite to press as he must watch the overlap of Walker. We are into the last minutes of injury time so the legs of players will be exhausted.

This results in Braithwaite not pressing quick enough to the point that, when Sterling takes a big touch, it works out in his benefit.

The ‘50/50’ ball is won by Raheem, and he can drive into the box as Braithwaite cannot recover quick enough.

Hojbjerg tries to come across and help, but he also is not able to keep up with the pace of Sterling, and it leaves Sterling in a 1 on 1 against Vestergaard, however with 4 other Danish players in the box it would have likely to have accounted for anything. Raheem tries to play it between Vestergaard’s legs, but it hits the inside of Vestergaard’s left boot and he is dispossessed.

Dribble Six:

After a pass from Kyle Walker, Denmark now decides to ‘double up’ Sterling with both the right-wing back Maehle and centre midfielder Mathias Jensen as Denmark have stuck with their 5 at the back formation for the start of extra-time.

Sterling uses the exact moment Jensen gets to him to start his darting run to the byline.

Jensen is completely out of the play and Maehle again has not got the pace to keep up and Sterling tries to get a pass in. Again, Vestergaard is there to block the pass, this time with his right foot, whilst just after play is stopped for a head injury after Sterling collides into him, Sterling not being able to stop himself in time.

Dribble Seven:

Shortest of all the dribbles, it is really just a touch, but again, just like the dribble before Sterling takes Jensen out of the game.

Raheem creates an incredible amount of space to shoot from, but he gets his connection all wrong. The shot ended up closer to row Z rather than the net of Denmark.

Dribble Eight:

Probably the most important dribble of the game for Sterling, one in which he ends up winning a penalty for Harry Kane to tuck in the rebound of, and take England to their first international final since 1966. Again, Denmark looks to double up on Sterling, this time with Maehle and Hojbjerg and, once again, when Hojbjerg initiates, Sterling uses that as his time to go.

In the second picture, you may be fooled to think the ball in vision is a huge touch by Sterling, but no its just the ‘second ball’ rival fans complained about after the 120 minutes.

Raheem’s pace is too much for Maehle and he is caught behind.

This causes Jensen to come across and hip-check Sterling, who wins the penalty. Whilst soft, Jensen is too hastily trying to get across, rather that trust Vestergaard who has excelled at intercepting the ball across the box all night.

Dribble Nine:

Jordan Henderson completed a pass to create a 2 on 3 counterattack for England, who at this point are not too bothered with scoring and would rather keep possession. Sterling, like has been the story all game, gets past Maehle. Maehle was having an incredible tournament, and this game should not take away his accomplishments this summer. However, he severely struggled with the runs of Sterling alongside the touchline. With his left foot being his weakest even though he plays on the left, an ever-emerging theme this European Championships, whilst it enables an extra dynamic going forward, Maehle will naturally tend to tackle with his right foot, which leaves him at a disadvantage defensively.

This leaves it as a 2 on 2, to which Joachim Andersen lunges himself at Sterling and gets it all wrong.

Whilst still a 2 on 2, with Maehle able to get back, Sterling passes to Kane, who cannot get a shot off and play is recycled.

Dribble Ten:

In the 117th minute, Sterling who has been on the whole game, outpaces Norgaard, a Danish substitute, to the ball from the midway point of the edge of the 18-yard box. That, in itself, is what is impressive.

With the ball at his feet, he gets past Norgaard, but Maehle comes out on top in this instance, as Raheem tries to place the ball behind his legs, but it hits the back of Maehle’s studs and results in losing the ball.

Dribble Eleven:

After a pass from Kane, Sterling again beats Andersen in a 1 on 1.

A sharp change in pace and direction means Sterling can get a shot off on his stronger right foot.

Schmeichel does incredibly well to get as close to the ball as possible and make himself as big as possible as the ball goes off him for a corner.