UEFA Euro 2024: Bellingham and Kane save England

True Legionnaire Bellingham and Bayern striker Kane were overlooked for long before turning in match-winners. A day after his 21st birthday, Bellingham (90+5) gave the Slovaks the lead through Ivan Schranz (25), who scored the third goal of the tournament with a remarkable overhead kick. Seconds into extra time, Kane (91st) headed in his 65th international goal.

These two goals not only kept the dream of a first title since 1966 alive, but also saved Gareth Southgate’s job. The England captain could sit on the bench for the 100th time against Switzerland. Meanwhile, Slovakia were not rewarded for a brave and even performance against England, who were once again weak. In their second appearance in the European Championship round of 16 since 2016, they were seconds away from breaking into the top eight of the European Championship for the first time.

Kane’s winning goal

Harry Kane scored England’s winning goal seconds into extra time. The captain leads the tournament winner “Three Lions” (91st).

England is still in trouble

England captain Gareth Southgate stuck largely to his critical starting eleven and continued to rely on his four attacking stars of Kane, Bellingham, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saga. Only one change again affected the defensive midfield. This time, Manchester United’s 19-year-old Kobi Mainu was allowed to start alongside Declan Rice. Meanwhile, Slovakia coach Francesco Calzona stuck to his starting eleven from the 1-1 draw against Romania in the last group game.

England had five days to make the right decisions about reviving their attacking play after the group stage. Above all what is needed is more verticality and determination. However, the Slovaks stood tall and disrupted the Englishmen’s play in the opposition’s penalty area. The British had problems with this. The outsiders were often well in front of goal, with David Hankow’s Stankel pass past friend and foe (5th).

Slovakia is rewarding itself for its brave performance

The English showed effective passing relays but could not find the gap as the Slovaks offered no space. After a good pass from Bellingham, Trippier drove the ball up. The Slovaks made their attacks more continuous and direct and took advantage of the English’s positional errors. Lukas Harassl breaks down Kyle Walker on the left, but the joint (12′) is prevented from scoring an effective finish.

The Slovaks acted confidently and did not act like outsiders. Bravery was rewarded, though the English again did not reduce a good number defensively. Central defenders Mark Kwehi and John Stones both went for a long ball but Juraj Kuka headed it wide. So the Slovaks were overweight. David Strelec served Schranz, who beat goalie Jordan Pickford with the outside of his feet into the far corner (25th).

Slovakia’s opening goal

Shortly after England looked dangerous in front of goal for the first time, Evan Schranz evaded the England defenders and slotted the ball past Jordan Pickford into the net (25th).

The British showed no reaction to the shortage. No one in the “Three Lions” group took responsibility. The favorites entered the penalty area only through corners and free kicks, and the Slovaks made no mistakes. The English pressure was on just before the break when Mainoo’s deflected shot went wide (45th + 3). Cross passes cannot create chances. Possession 77 percent in the first half, but no shots on goal.

English compensation withdrawn

After the break, the English celebrated early. After their excellent partnership through Kane and Trippier, the ball came to Foden, who pushed the ball over the line. VAR revealed a Man City player was offside when passing the ball (50′). Approached five minutes later. Bellingham played a free kick to Stones, who was unprepared. Strelek shot from halfway and the ball went over Pickford but went over the right bar.

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Foden’s offside goal (50th)

England are celebrating a draw after a good partnership. However, VAR intervened and Bill Foden’s goal was disallowed due to offside (50th).

In any case, the British increased the number of blows, and the Slovaks kept themselves from rusting. The clock started ticking for England. Southgate made an interesting change. Striker Cole Palmer came on for Trippier, while Saka switched from right wing to left back (66th). England continued to struggle against a dense Slovakian defense and were unable to produce an effective finish. The famous last pass is missing.

A dream goal saved England in extra time

In the final phase, apart from incompetence, there was also misfortune. First, top scorer Kane, who scored 44 goals for Bayern this season, missed a promising position (78th) with a header next to goal. Three minutes later, Rice shot from 20 meters but his shot hit the left post. The previously untested Slovakia goalie Martin Dubravka would not have had a chance (81.).

In the final stages, the Slovaks sacrificed themselves against the British, resisting only a rearguard action. It went into stoppage time with six minutes left for the English to level. Goalie Pickford also started attacks from the “Three Lions” in the half. Then salvation came in the form of a dream goal: Walker threw into the penalty area from the flank, defender Kwehi headed it to Bellingham, who scored with an overhead kick (90+5).

A celebrated draw from Bellingham

With their backs against the wall, the English equalized deep into stoppage time. Jude Bellingham scored beautifully with an overhead kick to make it 1-1 (90+5).

Kane scored 50 seconds after the restart

It went into overtime, which was interesting in personnel terms. The English had almost exclusively attacking players on the pitch, while Slovakia had defensive players. Within seconds of the restart – 50 seconds to be exact – the British struck. Slovakia goalie Dubravka chased down a free-kick cross, the ball passed through substitutes Eperechi Eze and Ivan Toni to Kane, who didn’t let the opportunity slip away to take the lead (91′).

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However, the British again became passive and retreated – playing with fire. Slovakia had chances, for example Peter Pekaric came too late after a cross (105′). At half-time, Bellingham and Kane were replaced, with Southgate switching to a 5-4-1. Now the Englishmen are fighting a defensive battle as Slovakia are besieging the anti-penalty area. Dhoni missed the early finish after a counterattack (121st). It didn’t matter as the England team achieved a shaky victory over time.

Voices about the game:

Harry Kane (England captain): “The attitude and desire of our boys is that we need to win more games like this. It was an incredible goal (from Bellingham, mind you). It’s probably the most beautiful goal in our international history, and he’s always there when it matters. Thank you to everyone who supported us.”

Milan Skriniar (Slovakia captain): “We’re very disappointed, but that’s football. We needed 30 or 40 seconds to celebrate. But I’m proud of the boys, we played a great match. We showed that we can play well against anyone. We played well against England too.

European Championship Round of 16


England – Slovakia 2:1 nV (1:1,0:1)

Gelsenkirchen, 47,200 spectators, SR Mellor (TUR)

0:1 Schranz (25th)
1:1 Bellingham (90.+5)
2:1 can (91.)

England: Pickford – Walker, Stones, Guehi, Trippier (66./Palmer) – Mainoo (84./Eze), Rice – Saka, Bellingham (106./Konsa), Foden (94./Toney) – Kane (106./Gallagher ) )

Slovakia: Dubravka – Pekarik (109./Tupta), Vavro, Skriniar, Hancko – Kucka (81./Bero), Lobotka, Duda (81./Benes) – Schranz (93./Gyömber), Strelec (61./Bozenik), Haraslin (61./Suslov)

Yellow cards: Guehi, Mainoo, Bellingham or Kucka, Skriniar, Pekarik, Vavro, Gyomber

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