Bellingham, Kane rescue England from shock Euro 2024 exit to Slovakia

Ivan Schranz put Slovakia in front with his third goal of Euro 2024 (INA FASSBENDER)
Ivan Schranz put Slovakia in front with his third goal of Euro 2024 (INA FASSBENDER)

England escaped an embarrassing last 16 exit at Euro 2024 thanks to Jude Bellingham's overhead kick before Harry Kane struck in extra-time for a 2-1 win over Slovakia on Sunday.

The Three Lions have been hyped as one of the favourites to end a 58-year wait for major tournament glory but looked set to go out with a whimper to Ivan Schranz's 25th minute goal.

However, Bellingham's moment of inspiration five minutes into six added on in stoppage time breathed new life into Gareth Southgate's reign as England boss.

Kane then headed in just a minute into extra-time to set up a quarter-final meeting with Switzerland on Saturday.

Southgate looked certain to fall on his sword after steadfastly refusing to make changes to a side that stumbled through as winners of Group C despite scoring just two goals in three games.

Kobbie Mainoo was introduced for his first competitive start in Southgate's only change and he paid the price with another lacklustre display lacking in any speed or invention for long spells.

The one saving grace of England's performances in the group stage was that a makeshift defence had held up well, conceding just once in three games.

However, they were torn to pieces early on by a Slovakia side ranked 45th in the world.

England did not heed a couple of warnings as David Hancko and Lukas Haraslin were wasteful with big chances.

Slovakia finally punished their more illustrious opponents when David Strelec was given acres of room to turn and play in Schranz, who confidently stroked past Jordan Pickford for his third goal of the tournament.

Despite his lack of experience, Mainoo was one of the few players that threatened to spark England into life as the Manchester United midfielder's effort was deflected wide.

The half-time whistle was met with a chorus of boos but Southgate still stuck to his guns and did not make a change until 25 minutes to go.

England did at least improve on a dismal first half and had the ball in the net within five minutes of the restart.

Phil Foden turned in Kieran Trippier's cross but was caught offside after a VAR review.

- Kane gets winner -

Slovakia should have doubled their lead shortly afterwards when England gave away possession and Strelec saw Pickford well off his line but failed to hit the target from the halfway line.

Southgate's hand was finally forced on 66 minutes by an injury to Trippier.

One of the major calls the England boss will come to regret is only naming one natural left-back in his 26-man squad in Luke Shaw, who has not played a minute for club or country since February.

With Shaw not match-fit, Bukayo Saka was forced to deputise at left-back to make room for the introduction of Cole Palmer.

England's chances seemed to have gone when Kane headed wide a golden opportunity and Declan Rice smashed the post with a long-range pot shot.

Southgate was even derided by the England support for bringing on Ivan Toney deep into stoppage time with chants of "you don't know what you're doing."

However, there was an incredible twist as Bellingham acrobatically turned home Guehi's flick-on from a throw-in the final moments of added-on time.

Slovakia were suddenly rattled and Toney was to have a telling contribution.

The Brentford striker headed Eberechi Eze's mishit shot back across goal for Kane to power home his second goal of the tournament.

Slovakia should still have taken the game to penalties when full-back Peter Pekarik failed to turn in a dangerous driven cross from point-blank range.

But England live to fight another day come the quarter-final against an impressive Switzerland, who comfortably knocked out holders Italy 2-0 on Saturday.