Bellingham and Kane heroics rescue England against Slovakia



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England were 86 seconds away from an embarrassing Euro 2024 exit until Jude Bellingham’s stunner inspired a 2-1 extra-time win over Slovakia in the last 16.

But Bellingham showed his talismanic quality yet again to haul England level with their first shot on target in the 95th minute.

His superb bicycle kick from a long throw-in beat Martin Dubravka to cancel out Ivan Schranz’s first-half opener and send the tie to extra-time.

Harry Kane then stepped up 50 seconds into the additional 30 minutes to nod home Ivan Toney’s flick and give England a victory which sets up a quarter-final with Switzerland next Saturday – kick-off 5pm – which had looked almost impossible only moments earlier.

The recriminations were already beginning on what looked set to become another of England’s darkest nights where they were outplayed for long periods by the team ranked 45th in the world.

Despite that, Southgate appeared reluctant to influence change on the pitch, with his only substitution before the 82nd minute the introduction of Cole Palmer after Kieran Trippier was forced off with injury.

Long before that, Schranz had fired Slovakia into a first-half lead with his third goal of the tournament. The Slavia Prague winger was allowed to stride forward from midfield past Marc Guehi to meet David Strelec’s ball into the box before beating Jordan Pickford one-on-one.

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

England had come into the tournament boasting some of the world’s best attacking talent but again looked toothless in attack until the final minutes.

They did briefly think they had equalised shortly after the break when Phil Foden tapped in Trippier’s low cross, but a VAR review rapidly halted the celebrations showing he was comfortably offside.

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

Instead it was left to Bellingham to pick up the pieces with seconds remaining, before Kane showed his own captain’s quality in extra-time to give England – and Southgate – a stay of reprieve for another six days.

Stats: Story of the match

Who plays who in the quarter-finals?



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