Raheem Sterling (L) against Sergino Dest of the US. Nov 25, 2022; Al Khor, Qatar; United States of America defender Sergino Dest (2) dribbles the ball against England forward Raheem Sterling (10) during the first half of a group stage match during the 2022 World Cup at Al Bayt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

The England 2022 FIFA World Cup squad took a surprising hit Sunday ahead of their quarterfinal against France Saturday, and it had nothing to do with anything that happened on the pitch. Instead, as the BBC’s Dan Roan reported, forward Raheem Sterling is leaving the team to return to London after armed intruders broke into his home Saturday night.

Here’s more from Roan’s piece on Sterling (seen at left above against Sergino Dest of the U.S.):

Raheem Sterling is leaving the England World Cup squad in Qatar to return to London after armed intruders broke into his home while his family were in.

Manager Gareth Southgate confirmed the news after Sunday’s 3-0 last-16 win against Senegal.

“He is going to fly home and obviously family at these moments is the most important thing,” Southgate said.

It is understood the incident happened on Saturday night. Sterling has three young children.

“We want to give him that space and we will see over the next few days how that develops,” Southgate added.

27-year-old Chelsea striker Sterling started for England and scored in their initial 2022 World Cup match against Iran (a 6-2 win), then started in their 0-0 draw against the United States. But he didn’t play in their final group stage match against Wales (a 3-0 win). And ahead of Sunday’s Round of 16 match against Senegal (also a 3-0 win), the team revealed he wasn’t available thanks to this “family matter.”

It’s certainly awful for Sterling to have to deal with an armed home invasion at any time. It’s perhaps harder still with this coming while he was away for the World Cup. Our best thoughts go out to him and his family.

[BBC; photo from Danielle Parhizkara/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.