Sterling, who scored the winner in England’s opener against Croatia, nodded home from Jack Grealish’s cross as Gareth Southgate’s side produced an excellent first-half performance before seeing the job out after the interval to secure a return to Wembley in the last-16, where they will face one of France, Portugal, Germany and Hungary.
Facing the runners-up in the so-called group of death looks a tough ask but there is a lot to be said for home comforts - plus facing underdogs at the Euros does not always go well, such as Iceland five years ago.
There remains plenty for Southgate’s men to improve on after Tuesday’s hard-fought victory, but England reacted well to a disrupted build-up that saw Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell forced into isolation.
The fallout to their interaction with Scotland’s Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for Covid-19, will rumble on, but Mount’s replacement Grealish impressed - as did fellow tournament full debutant Bukayo Saka.
The fearless pair were involved in the winning goal under the arch, where Sterling bounced back from hitting a post in the opening stages to head home Grealish’s 12th-minute cross.
There were some nervy moments when the Czechs settled and Harry Kane’s wait for his first Euros goal continues, but England professionally saw out a forgettable second half to wrap up qualification without conceding.
Additional reporting by PA.