World Cup 2014: Will Raheem Sterling be suspended for England's opening World Cup fixture against Italy? - International - Football - The Independent

World Cup 2014: Will Raheem Sterling be suspended for England's opening World Cup fixture against Italy?

Sterling and Antonio Valencia were sent-off during the 2-2 draw between England and Ecuador

Raheem Sterling will be available for England’s opening World Cup group game against Italy following his red card in the 2-2 draw with Ecuador as the midfielder has been handed a one-match ban.

Sterling was shown a straight red card just 16 minutes after coming off the bench for a reckless challenge on Antonio Valencia. The Manchester United winger was also dismissed for his violent reaction to the tackle, where he grabbed Sterling around the throat twice leading to a mass confrontation between both sets of players.

But both players will be available for their opening group games after they were each handed a one-match suspension, meaning Sterling will be unavailable for Saturday’s international friendly against Honduras in Miami.

Hodgson admitted he was disappointed with the referees reaction, as he felt that the Liverpool star got the ball, though the Three Lions manager did accept it was a fierce challenge.

Watch Sam Wallace's round-up of England's 2-2 draw with Ecuador below:

After the match, Hodgson said: “I'm disappointed. I thought it was a fierce challenge from young Raheem, not a foul challenge. He played the ball.

“I'm disappointed with Antonio's reaction, grabbing the player. Had he not jumped up there wouldn't have been a problem but, when he does that, the referee had to deal with that and sent Raheem off.

“I'm pleased Raheem didn't react to a lot of people milling around him.”

Read more: England 2 Ecuador 2 match report
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It means Sterling will be available to face Italy in Manaus on Saturday 14 June, when England get their campaign underway in the extreme conditions of the Amazonian city. Valencia, one of Ecuador’s key players, will return for their opening match against Switzerland a day later.

Valencia has since apologised to his country, team-mates and manager for his reaction, but did not mention Sterling in his messages posted on social media.

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