• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Euro 2024: England survives Slovakia scare to reach quarter-finals

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Tournament favourites England narrowly avoided an embarrassing last-16 exit at the Euro 2024, thanks to Jude Bellingham’s stunning overhead kick and Harry Kane’s extra-time strike, securing a 2-1 win over Slovakia on Sunday.

Despite being tipped as one of the favourites to win the 2024 Euro and end a 58-year wait for major tournament glory, Gareth Southgate’s team were close to exiting the tournament. But Bellingham’s moment of brilliance five minutes into stoppage time revitalised England’s chances.
Kane then headed in just a minute into extra time, setting up a quarter-final clash with Switzerland on Saturday.

Southgate seemed poised for heavy criticism after refusing to make significant changes to a team that stumbled through as Group C winners, scoring just two goals in three games.

Kobbie Mainoo was introduced for his first competitive start, but England’s performance remained lacklustre, lacking speed and creativity for much of the match.

England ignored early warnings as David Hancko and Lukas Haraslin missed big chances. Slovakia finally capitalized when David Strelec found ample space to turn and play in Schranz, who confidently slotted past Jordan Pickford for his third goal of the tournament.

Despite his inexperience, Mainoo was one of the few players threatening to spark England into life, with a deflected effort going wide. The half-time whistle was met with boos, but Southgate persisted with his initial lineup, only making a change with 25 minutes remaining.

England’s performance improved slightly in the second half, and they had the ball in the net within five minutes of the restart. However, Phil Foden’s goal from Kieran Trippier’s cross was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

Bellingham and Kane’s crucial goals saved England, keeping their tournament hopes alive and providing a much-needed boost as they prepare to face Switzerland.