Wonder goal Bellingham and Harry Kane header break Slovakia's hearts as England reach quarter finals


Slovakia…….1 (aet)

A wonder goal by England superstar Jude Bellingham and a fine header by Harry Kane earned England a quarter final berth after Slovakia were just a few seconds away from completing a milestone victory.

This memorable UEFA EURO 2024 Round of 16 clash was the first to go to extra time.

Both teams stayed with the formula they had favoured during the group stage, Kobbie Mainoo coming into England’s midfield in the only change for either side. It was Slovakia who settled first, however, David Strelec turning an early free-kick wide before Dávid Hancko pulled a cross-shot just past the far post having been played in down the left.

Lukáš Haraslín was the next to threaten, again down Slovakia’s left, only a superb sliding block from Marc Guéhi – whose early booking rules him out of the quarter-final – stopping his shot before England scrambled away. Francesco Calzona’s team were finding a way through the England back line with regularity and the breakthrough duly arrived in the 25th minute, Strelec threading a pass through for Schranz to hold off Guéhi and slot his third goal of the finals past Jordan Pickford.

England emerged for the second half with renewed energy, Phil Foden quickly having an effort ruled out for offside and a Kane attempt deflecting wide. With Calzona urging Slovakia forward, Strelec sent a first-time strike from the halfway line a metre past the post with Pickford scrambling, but in the main the traffic was flowing in the opposite direction.

Gareth Southgate introduced Cole Palmer in a bid to give England’s attack more urgency yet England continued to struggle to make inroads although Kane passed up a golden chance when he nodded Foden’s free-kick wide when unmarked.

With time ticking away Declan Rice tried his luck from range, the ball cannoning back off the upright with Martin Dúbravka beaten, and that was the cue for England’s late rally. Just when it looked like they would come up short, Bellingham met Guéhi’s flick with a remarkable overhead kick to send the tie to extra time.

Less than 60 seconds into the additional period England were in front, Kane pouncing to nod in from close range after Ivan Toney had headed the ball into the goalmouth. Slovakia were visibly distraught but raised themselves and might have equalised just before half-time in extra time, Peter Pekarík firing over from close range, yet that was as near as they got as England edged through.

England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guéhi, Trippier (Palmer 66); Mainoo (Eze 84), Rice; Saka, Bellingham (Konsa 106), Foden (Toney 90+4); Kane (Gallagher 106)

Slovakia: Dúbravka; Pekarík (Tupta 109), Vavro, Škriniar, Hancko; Kucka (Bero 81), Lobotka, Duda (Bénes 81); Schranz (Gyömbér 90+3), Strelec (Boženík 61), Haraslín (Suslov 61)

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