soccer

England reaches Euro 2024 quarterfinals after Bellingham, Kane spark comeback win over Slovakia

Jude Bellingham's goal in stoppage time kept England alive and Harry Kane sealed the comeback in extra time.

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Jude Bellingham of England celebrates with Harry Kane
Robbie Jay Barratt-AMA/2024 AMA Sports Photo Agency via Getty Images

Jude Bellingham of England celebrates with Harry Kane after scoring a goal to make it 1-1 during the UEFA EURO 2024 round of 16 match between England and Slovakia at Arena AufSchalke on June 30, 2024 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

Jude Bellingham scored a stunning overhead kick with only seconds left to help England avoid one of the most shocking defeats in the history of the European Championship.

The midfielder’s acrobatic strike in the fifth minute of stoppage time leveled the round-of-16 game against Slovakia at 1-1. Harry Kane struck again in the first minute of extra time at the Veltins Arena to secure a 2-1 comeback win and a place in the quarterfinals where England will play Switzerland in Duesseldorf on Saturday.

“I think it was 20 seconds until we were out of the European Championship,” Bellingham said. “It’s hard to deny that it was one of the most important moments of my career so far.”

For so long it looked like being one of the most humbling defeats England had ever suffered — bringing back memories of its elimination at the hands of Iceland at Euro 2016 — as one of the pre-tournament favorites trailed Ivan Schranz’s 25th-minute goal for 45th-ranked Slovakia.

Boos rang around the stadium in the first half as frustration grew among fans.

England needed to improve in the second half. Phil Foden had a goal ruled out by VAR, Kane headed wide from close range and Declan Rice hit the post in the 81st.

With seconds remaining on the clock, Bellingham’s moment of inspiration came.

Kyle Walker launched a long throw from the right and Marc Guehi leapt to flick the ball on.

It was behind Bellingham in the middle of the box, but in a flash he readjusted his body and executed a perfect overhead kick, sending the ball in to the bottom corner to leave Slovakia goalkeeper Martin Dubravka rooted on his line as he watched it nestle into the back of the net.

“I had a funny feeling the game wasn’t dead and I know that sounds ridiculous. We were pushing and probing," England manager Gareth Southgate said. "Ultimately it is the one we have thrown in the box that got us the goal.”

Bellingham's goal was England’s first shot on target in the match.

It didn’t have to wait long for its second as Kane headed home to score his seventh goal in his last seven knockout games at major tournaments. It was also a record-extending 65th for his country.

England - ranked fifth in the world - hasn’t won a major tournament since its only triumph at the World Cup in 1966.

“We haven’t come to get to a quarterfinal, but to get through a night like tonight was fantastic character and we now play a Swiss team that have been very good," Southgate said. "We have a couple of days to recover and get ready for them.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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