Euro 2024, Football

Euro 2024 – England vs Slovakia: Bellingham and Kane rescue woeful England after extra time

In the last 16, Jude Bellingham’s incredible goal against Slovakia set up a 2-1 extra-time victory for England, saving them from an ignominious departure from Euro 2024 inside 86 seconds.

Just 21 years old on Saturday, Bellingham once again demonstrated his enchanted abilities to draw England even with their first-ever effort on goal in the 95th minute.

Ivan Schranz’s first-half opener was cancelled out by his incredible bicycle kick from a long throw-in that beat Martin Dubravka and sent the game into extra time.

Just moments before, it was nearly impossible, but Harry Kane made a move fifty seconds into the extra thirty minutes to nod in Ivan Toney’s flick and give England the victory. This sets up a quarter-final matchup with Switzerland next Saturday, kickoff at 5 p.m.

It could have been quite different, though.

On what appeared to be another of England’s worst nights, as they were outplayed for extended periods of time by the 45th-ranked team in the world, the accusations were already flying.

Despite this, Southgate didn’t seem eager to make any changes on the pitch; his only substitution prior to the 82nd minute was Cole Palmer, who replaced Kieran Trippier following the latter’s injury.

Ever since Schranz scored his third goal of the tournament to give Slovakia a first-half lead, the pressure has been mounting. The Slavia Prague winger beat Jordan Pickford one-on-one after being let to advance past Marc Guehi from midfield and meet David Strelec’s ball into the area.

Pickford could only watch in agony as an audacious effort drifted past his unguarded far post as Bellingham’s bad ball on the half-way line was intercepted by Strelec, and England continued sleepwalking towards the exit door.

Despite having some of the greatest attacking players in the world, Southgate’s team appeared weak offensively until the very end of the match.

Soon after the break, Phil Foden appeared to have equalised when he tapped in Trippier’s low cross, but a quick VAR review quickly put an end to the celebrations as it revealed Foden was well offside.

Declan Rice was unfortunate to hit only the base of the post with a stunning 25-yard drive, while Kane wasted a rare clear-cut opportunity when he glanced Foden’s free-kick past the near post.

Rather, with only seconds left, Bellingham had to salvage something, and in extra time, Kane proved to be a worthy captain, giving England – and Southgate – a six-day reprieve.

England captain Harry Kane on ITV Sport:

“That’s the desire and attitude of the boys and everyone involved.

“It looked tough for a second there but you keep going. We work on so many details throughout the week, we put in a long throw a couple of days ago.

“We said ‘we might need it, be prepared for anything’, and Jude does what Jude does. What an unbelievable goal. It’s kept our tournament alive.

“All I can say is incredible support. I know the fans back home would’ve enjoyed that. What a win.

On Bellingham’s goal: “One of the best in our country’s history, I reckon.

“What a player he is. He works so hard for the team, there’s been a lot of talk about him over the last couple of days, but he’s showed what he can do.

“In the big moments, he’s stepped up and that’s what we need.”

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