Euro 2024

Euro 2024: Bellingham and Kane fire England past Slovakia

England were just 86 seconds away from a humiliating exit in the Euro 2024 last 16, but Jude Bellingham’s late heroics and a Harry Kane header inspired a 2-1 extra-time victory over Slovakia, securing a spot in the quarter-finals.

The Real Madrid midfielder, visibly frustrated throughout the match in Gelsenkirchen, demonstrated his exceptional quality to save England from what seemed to be another disappointing exit on the international stage.

Slovakia took the lead in the first half through Ivan Schranz, who scored his third goal of the tournament. The Slavia Prague winger capitalized on a pass from David Strelec and beat Jordan Pickford one-on-one after maneuvering past Marc Guehi.

England’s struggles continued as they appeared to be sleepwalking towards elimination. A poor pass from Bellingham was intercepted by Strelec, whose ambitious shot narrowly missed the target, adding to England’s woes.

Despite boasting some of the world’s best attacking talent, England looked toothless until the final moments. They thought they had equalized shortly after halftime when Phil Foden tapped in Kieran Trippier’s cross, but a VAR review ruled him offside.

Harry Kane missed a rare clear-cut opportunity, nodding Foden’s free-kick past the near post. Declan Rice also came close with a 25-yard drive that struck the post.

As the match neared its end, Bellingham delivered a stunning bicycle kick from a long throw-in in the 95th minute, leveling the score with England’s first shot on target. This crucial goal sent the match into extra time.

Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane celebrate during England Vs Slovakia
Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane celebrate during England Vs Slovakia

Fifty seconds into the additional 30 minutes, Harry Kane stepped up to nod home Ivan Toney’s flick, securing a dramatic win for England. This victory sets up a quarter-final clash with Switzerland next Saturday at 5pm.

England manager Gareth Southgate faced criticism for his reluctance to make changes, with his only substitution before the 82nd minute being Cole Palmer, who replaced the injured Trippier.

Reflecting on the match, Bellingham said, “We need to build a team with talented players, whether they are home-based or foreign-based. The coach can be either Nigerian or foreign. What matters is building a cohesive and competitive squad.”

The victory, powered by Bellingham and Kane’s heroics, grants England a temporary reprieve and keeps their Euro 2024 hopes alive for at least another six days.

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