England beat Slovakia reaction (2024)

Follow live reaction to England’s grueling 2-1 comeback victory over Slovakia, with Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane scoring late

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Michael Bailey

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Luke Brown·Managing Editor, News

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England beat Slovakia to reach quarter-finals

Jude Bellingham scored a sensational stoppage-time bicycle kick to spare England’s blushes against Slovakia, before Harry Kane headed home an extra-time winner to send his side into the quarter-finals of Euro 2024.

Slovakia took the lead when Ivan Schranz scored midway through the opening half and England, one of the pre-tournament favourites, found themselves on the verge of a humiliating early exit.

But Bellingham levelled the score with his incredible strike in the 95th minute“one of the best goals in our country’s history,” Kane said later — with the Bayern Munich striker heading home the winner in the first minute of extra time. England will play Switzerland on Saturday in the next round.

GO FURTHEREngland 2 Slovakia 1 – England scrape through, Bellingham to the rescue, tactical questions remain
June 30, 2024 at 4:55 PM EDTMark Carey·Football Writer

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A distinct lack of tempo from England… again

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England’s performance in Gelsenkirchen could not be explained by statistics because it would not come close to explaining their approach when they had the ball.

You might look at their passing accuracy and think they looked after the ball well, but event data does not show the options not offered or the passes not made.

A theme that has plagued England across the tournament has been their passing tempo, with an inability to work the ball from their defensive third into threatening areas with any zeal or conviction.

Kobbie Mainoo was brave in midfield in looking to receive the ball inside Slovakia’s 4-4-2 block, but on the occasions where he was in space to receive the ball and turn forward, he was rarely found at the opportune moment.

If the tempo is slow and laboured, those passing angles close very quickly.

GO FURTHEREngland 2 Slovakia 1 – England scrape through, Bellingham to the rescue, tactical questions remain

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June 30, 2024 at 4:45 PM EDTJacob Whitehead

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Was the first half England’s worst (so far)?

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England’s opening 45 minutes was best summarised by one image: a defender stood with arms outstretched, furious at the lack of options in front of them.

Gareth Southgate’s name was booed when it was read out pre-match, while the first boo at England’s staid play came after 11 minutes.

Then when the half-time whistle blew, his team were booed off again for a second consecutive match.

They had created nothing of note.

In theory, every half at a tournament should be a chance to get better. In their opening 45 minutes on Sunday, England went entirely in the other direction.

GO FURTHEREngland 2 Slovakia 1 – England scrape through, Bellingham to the rescue, tactical questions remain
June 30, 2024 at 4:35 PM EDTPeter Rutzler·Fulham Correspondent

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Another problematic game for Gareth

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England escaped humiliation. The damning aspect is that we could see it coming.

Their performances at Euro 2024 have fallen well below expected standards. For a team with this much quality individually — not just in the starting XI but throughout the 26-man squad and indeed talent left at home, too — it has been extremely underwhelming.

Southgate’s piecemeal interventions to the starting line-up of cycling through Trent Alexander-Arnold to Conor Gallagher and then Kobbie Mainoo had limited impact.

Most damning of all was that England did not appear to have a discernible playing style, nor show patterns of play that were individually identifiable. This match, against Slovakia, was the same story.

GO FURTHEREngland 2 Slovakia 1 – England scrape through, Bellingham to the rescue, tactical questions remain
June 30, 2024 at 4:25 PM EDTMark Carey·Football Writer

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Breaking down Bellingham’s 95th-minute intervention

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Necessity is the mother of invention.

England were lacking ideas when they resorted to a long throw-in deep in Slovakia’s defensive third. Stoppage time, packed penalty area, a flick-on, and a world-class overhead kick from Jude Bellingham.

It was England’s first shot on target.

Bellingham’s Adidas campaign ahead of the tournament had the tagline “You Got This”. Never has that been more true of an England player in recent major tournaments. As Bellingham ran away in celebration, a declaration of “Who else?” was befitting of the confidence that defies his age.

Was it a deserved equaliser? No. A creative piece of magic to spark England’s comeback? You bet.

GO FURTHEREngland 2 Slovakia 1 – England scrape through, Bellingham to the rescue, tactical questions remain
June 30, 2024 at 4:05 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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England passing network vs Slovakia

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The Athletic

Yet more evidence of how England need a switch-up in their starting XI? I’ll let you decide on that. But there remains an issue with having an effective Harry Kane and Phil Foden, while Marc Guehi will miss the quarter-finals through suspension and Kieran Tripper came off today with an injury.

And those are just the starting points.

Still, enjoy studying our passing network and see if if brings up any thoughts for you (which you can always share with us by email to livebloguk@theathletic.com)

June 30, 2024 at 3:57 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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A Swiss roll for Gareth’s century

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We now know Gareth Southgate’s 100th game in charge of England will be a quarter-final against Switzerland in Dusseldorf.

So he will be looking forward to that, right? He told BBC Sport:

💬 “That’s neither here nor there. We haven’t come to get to a quarter-final, but to get through a night like tonight was fantastic character and we now play a Swiss team that has been very good.

“We have a couple of days to recover and get ready for them.”

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June 30, 2024 at 3:52 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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‘That is why you don’t make changes’

What did England boss Gareth Southgate have to say after that dramatic success in Gelsenkirchen? Here he is, speaking to BBC Sport:

💬 “I had a funny feeling the game wasn’t dead and I know that sounds ridiculous.

“With 15 minutes to go you wonder if (Bellingham) is out on his feet. Him and Harry Kane produce those moments and that is why you don’t make changes when people are clamouring for more changes. We had enough attacking players on the pitch.

“We felt Bukayo (Saka) at left-back gave us an extra attacking outlet. It is a good option to have. I have to say, the courage shown by the players was fantastic.”

June 30, 2024 at 3:46 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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Kane among the European elite

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The Athletic

After his goal today, Harry Kane is in great company — among the most prolific goalscorers European football has ever produced, in fact.

As you can see from the above table, produced by my colleague Will Jeanes.

June 30, 2024 at 3:39 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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More a squad game than an XI effort

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What on earth will Gareth Southgate do with his England XI to face Switzerland in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals in Dusseldorf on Saturday?

That will be his 100th game in charge of England, by the way. For Jude Bellingham, it’s the squad that did the business tonight:

💬 “Look at who came on. We’ve won this game together. Not me, not Harry, not the individual moments. It’s the likes of Ivan Toney, Eberechi Eze, Cole Palmer, Bukayo Saka going to left-back.

“It’s the sacrifice you make for the team and that’s the energy we need to keep, regardless of what goes on.”

Let’s see if Southgate looks beyond his favoured XI so far when it comes to the last eight.

June 30, 2024 at 3:32 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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‘It looked tough for a second there’

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More here from Harry Kane, who really did master the art of understatement to ITV Sport on the Gelsenkirchen pitch:

💬 “It looked tough for a second there but you keep going. We work on so many details throughout the week — we put in a long throw a couple of days ago, we said we might need it, be prepared for anything.

“And then Jude does what Jude does. What an unbelievable goal. He’s kept our tournament alive.

“That’s the desire and attitude from the boys, the staff, everyone involved…Incredible support, I know the fans at home would have enjoyed it. What a win.”

June 30, 2024 at 3:26 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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Calzona plays down Rice issue

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So what of that altercation between England midfielder Declan Rice and Slovakia head coach Francesco Calzona at full-time? Here is Calzona’s word on it:

💬 “Rice was supposed to go to the referee, say goodbye and leave. I had to speak to the referee.

“He (Rice) was carrying on. He was continuing to speak, but then he apologised and it all ended there.”

It’s not quite how it looks on the TV pictures, but who am I to argue with one of the people on the pitch at the time?

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June 30, 2024 at 3:19 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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From despair to delight for Jude

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How did Jude Bellingham see that? Have a read for yourself:

💬 “You’re 30 seconds away from going home, feeling like you’ve let your nation down… One kick of the ball and everything’s great.

“It’s a (position) I don’t want to be in but when it comes, it’s a great feeling. Playing for England is a great thing. But it’s a lot of pressure as well.

“Being on the pitch and scoring goals for me is a release, it’s a very happy moment. Besides their goal, we were pretty good I thought. We got into good areas. We could be more clinical, but the main thing we showed was a lot of character.

“In knockout football, when you produce a moment like that, people can look around and think ‘Yes, that is the spirit we have in the team’. You don’t have those moments without the adversity.”

June 30, 2024 at 3:15 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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…BUT not quite like this

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Today saw England’s latest goal in the normal 90 minutes of a game at a European Championship finals.

Jude Bellingham’s goal was clocked at 94 minutes 34 seconds.

That was followed by their earliest ever extra-time goal at a Euros, with Harry Kane scoring after just 90 minutes 50 seconds.

That’s a bit of an overlap when you think of it, not that it matters.

June 30, 2024 at 3:09 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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England have done that before

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There was a bit being made of England’s struggles in coming from behind to win, but that hasn’t been the case in the Euros.

After today’s comeback, England have now won their last four games when conceding first at a European Championship.

Only France have won more in such circ*mstances, and it’s only five.

June 30, 2024 at 3:04 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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Just kicking off: Spain vs Georgia

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We’ve still got plenty of fallout to come here from events in Gelsenkirchen, but I should also bring your attention to the day’s other round of 16 tie.

Spain vs Georgia has just kicked off in Cologne, and you can follow it with us and the most excellent Max Mathews, right here right now.

Maybe Spain will put in a performance to add some more encouraging context for England fans.

That or underline their own tournament hopes.

June 30, 2024 at 3:00 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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Full-time (after extra-time) stats zone

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Quite the game, then. Let’s cast an eye over the numbers from those 120 minutes of Euro 2024 football…

FT (aet): England 2-1 Slovakia

  • Possession: 63% — 37%
  • Shots: 16 — 13
  • On target: 2 — 3
  • XG: 1.61 — 2.09
  • Big chances: 2 — 2
  • Blocked shots: 7 — 3
  • Duels won: 69 — 58
  • Dispossessed: 7 — 10

Yes, England scored with their two shots on target. Yes, Slovakia created better quality chances. It felt like a get out of jail for England and they won’t get away with it against Switzerland in the quarter-finals.

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June 30, 2024 at 2:57 PM EDTMichael Bailey·Live Reporter

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Kane salutes ‘one of England’s best’

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What a moment it was on the stroke of full time with the bell about to toll on England’s Euro 2024. And then Jude Bellingham pulls out an overhead kick. Remarkable. Here’s what England captain Harry Kane said about it on ITV Sport just now:

💬 “One of the best (goals) in our country’s history I reckon. What a player. He works so hard for the team.

“There’s been a lot of talk about him over the past couple of days but he stepped up in the big moment. That’s what we need and he did that today.”

June 30, 2024 at 2:54 PM EDTMax Mathews·Live Reporter

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The Briefing: England 2-1 Slovakia

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England edged past Slovakia to reach the Euro 2024 quarter-finals, but only after staring a humiliating defeat in the face.

The Athletic’s Jacob Whitehead, Oli Kay, Mark Carey and Peter Rutzler break down the key moments from the match.

GO FURTHEREngland 2 Slovakia 1 – England scrape through, Bellingham to the rescue, tactical questions remain
June 30, 2024 at 2:50 PM EDTOliver Kay·Football Writer

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Bellingham gets the nod

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Jude Bellingham has just been named player of the match by UEFA. Not an easy one to evaluate really.

He, like several England players, had spells where nothing was going right for him, but he was involved in almost all of England's best moments.

And to pop up with a goal like that, in those circ*mstances, was huge.

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England beat Slovakia reaction (2024)
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