American referee Mark Geiger came under pressure from both sets of players in a match that went the full distance and threatened to boil over throughout.
Colombia midfielder Wilmar Barrios was cautioned for a headbutt on Jordan Henderson, while away from the action fitness coach Eduardo Julio Urtasun barged into Sterling as he attempted to head down the tunnel for half time.
Sterling admits that it was vital England kept calm heads at the Spartak Stadium, and the Manchester City wideman is simply happy to still be in the competition at the expense of the Colombians, having come out on top 4-3 on penalties.
"I just remember running in and someone stepped in front of me," he told reporters when asked about the incident. "There were a couple of times when I went over for a drinks break and he kept saying something. Obviously I don't speak Spanish so I didn't understand but then there was half time, too.
"I just kind of looked back at him, but we knew their game plan and exactly what they were trying to do. We knew what would get thrown at us and that was kind of silly from him. We just keep going, black that out and focus on the football.
"They're a physical team. They were trying to do everything they could to get into our heads but we kept cool heads and that's the most important thing. It's up to the ref to clamp down it and we can't really get involved in it. We're through and happy, we move on."
England will now face Sweden for a place in the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1990.