EURO 2024 Round-of-16: England 2-1 Slovakia – Bellingham Scores A Worldie To Save Heavyweights’ Blushes

BEllingham EURO 2024 Overhead Kick
BEllingham EURO 2024 Overhead Kick

One of the most valuable international teams in the world, England, once again produced a performance to forget in the 2024 European Championship (EURO 2024). However, thanks to a late, late strike from their No. 10 Jude Bellingham, they managed to scrape through to the quarter-finals, beating Slovakia 2-1 at the Veltins-Arena on Sunday, June 30.

Gareth Southgate’s England got a lot of flak for not living up to expectations in the group stage of EURO 2024. They won once and drew twice, scoring just two goals and conceding one. Fans expected them to put on a much better show in the Round-of-16 clash with Slovakia. However, that did not turn out to be the case. They were one-dimensional and all too predictable in attack and lost their shape time and again at the back.

Another Subdued Display From England

Slovakia made the most of their woeful defending in the 25th minute, with David Strelec threading the ball through for Ivan Schranz. Under pressure from Marc Guehi, the 30-year-old penetrated the area and rolled the ball beyond Jordan Pickford and into the bottom-left corner. England enjoyed a lot of the ball in the remainder of the first half, but they could not find the breakthrough.

The Three Lions started the second half with much more vigor and had the ball in the net just five minutes in. Kieran Trippier capitalized on Slovakia’s narrow press to barge into the box from the left and rolled the ball for Phil Foden. The Manchester City attacker made the right contact to bundle the ball into the back of the net. England’s celebration, however, did not last long, as a quick VAR check confirmed Foden was in an offside position when receiving the ball from Trippier. It was an embarrassing mistake from Foden, as he would have reached the ball even if he had held his run a smidgen longer.

In the 78th minute, Harry Kane had a golden opportunity to equalize, as Foden’s inch-perfect free-kick found him unmarked inside the box. Much to England’s dismay, the Bayer Munich man could not keep his effort on target. Three minutes later, Declan Rice dispatched a blinder from outside the area. Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Dubravka could not get to it, but the bar came in the way to deny England the leveler. In 90 minutes, England registered just one shot on target, Slovakia, meanwhile, had three.

Bellingham Scores A Stunner To Avoid EURO 2024 Embarrassment

The English equalizer ultimately came in the fifth of injury time, courtesy of Bellingham. The Real Madrid man dispatched a sublime overhead kick, sending Guehi’s deflected layoff into the bottom-right corner of Slovakia’s goal. With the score level at 1-1, the Round-of-16 tie crept into extra time.

In the first minute of extra time, Kane made amends for missing a sitter early in the game. Substitute Ivan Toney headed the ball across goal, allowing Kane to nod it in from point-blank range. Surprisingly, England did not build on the lead and nearly conceded for the second time on the night in the 105th minute. Luckily for the favorites, Peter Pekaric could not direct Laszlo Benes’ brilliant cross toward the goal. In the 118th minute, Slovakia created another fine opportunity to equalize, but Robert Bozenik could only find the side netting with his thumping effort from the right.

The final whistle brought heartbreak for Slovakia, as they crashed out of the competition with a 2-1 defeat despite having a higher xG than England (2.16 vs 1.61). Having scraped through, Southgate’s boys will take on Switzerland in the EURO 2024 quarter-finals on July 6.

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