England produces stunning escape act to defeat Slovakia in extra time at Euro 2024 and reach quarterfinals

An exquisite injury-time goal from Jude Bellingham handed England a dramatic lifeline in a 2-1 victory against Slovakia at Euro 2024.

England looked certain to be exiting the tournament in the last 16 after Ivan Schranz had given Slovakia a deserved first-half lead, but Bellingham stepped up in the 95th minute to equalize with a superb bicycle kick and send the game into extra time.

Harry Kane’s goal soon after completed the remarkable comeback and saved England from what would have been an embarrassing defeat.

The Three Lions will now face Switzerland in the quarterfinals on July 6 and will need a much-improved performance in order to progress in the tournament.

In Sunday’s other game, Spain came from a goal down to defeat Georgia 4-1 and set up a potentially thrilling quarterfinal against host Germany.

Georgia, appearing in its first ever knockout-round match of a major international tournament, took a surprise lead after Robin Le Normand’s own goal, but Spain eventually ran away with a comfortable victory thanks to goals from Rodri, Fabián Ruiz, Nico Williams and Dani Olmo.

England leaves it very late

In the earlier kickoff, Schranz’s goal put Slovakia ahead midway through the first half at Gelsenkirchen’s Arena AufSchalke, and despite dominating possession from that point, England remained frustrated for much of the contest.

Indeed, Bellingham’s acrobatic goal was the team’s first shot on target – a moment of magic in what was otherwise a lackluster performance.

Kane celebrates scoring the winning goal for England against Slovakia. - Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images
Kane celebrates scoring the winning goal for England against Slovakia. - Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images

England, a beaten finalist at the Euros three years ago, has underwhelmed at this edition of the tournament and Sunday’s knockout game was no exception.

Slovakia, ranked 45th in the world and coming off a surprise group-stage win against Belgium, was looking to reach its first quarterfinal at a major tournament.

It started the brighter of the two teams and was rewarded in the 25th minute when a long ball caused disarray in England’s defence, allowing Schranz to collect David Strelec’s pass in the box and score his third goal of the competition.

England began its search for an equalizer and looked to have got it when Phil Foden had the ball in the back of the net, but it was quickly ruled out for offside.

Kane, who has had a relatively quiet tournament so far, then headed just wide from Foden’s free-kick before Declan Rice’s shot from outside the box hit the post.

At that point, time was quickly running out for England. Then, enter Bellingham: after a throw-in into the box was headed on by Marc Guéhi, the Real Madrid midfielder – tipped to be one of the standout players of this tournament – showed his star quality with a wonderful bicycle kick.

That offered England hope, and it wasn’t long before the match had swung dramatically in its favor. Less than a minute into extra time, substitute Ivan Toney headed the ball to Kane at the back post for the captain’s second goal of the campaign.

Peter Pekarík came agonizingly close to equalizing for Slovakia later in the first half of added time, but his close-range effort flew over the bar.

England held on from there and narrowly avoided following Italy – the reigning champion was beaten 2-0 by Switzerland on Saturday – out of the tournament with another shock exit.

“It looked tough for a second there but you keep going,” Kane told ITV after the match, calling Bellingham’s goal “one of the best in our country’s history.”

“Jude does what Jude does,” he added. “What an unbelievable goal. He’s kept our tournament alive.”

Spain turns on the style

Tournament debutant Georgia entered the last 16 match against Spain at Cologne Stadium as a heavy underdog, but its dream run at the tournament looked set for another unlikely chapter when Le Normand turned a cross into his own net against the run of play early in the first half.

Georgia managed to hold onto its one-goal lead for 21 minutes until Rodri’s fine strike from the edge of the penalty box rewarded Spain’s sustained pressure.

Rodri equalized for Spain with a brilliant left-footed strike. - Heiko Becker/Reuters
Rodri equalized for Spain with a brilliant left-footed strike. - Heiko Becker/Reuters

The three-time European champion, which won all three of its group-stage matches in impressive fashion, began to exert its superiority in the second half and took the lead when Fabián headed in Lamine Yamal’s pinpoint in-swinging cross.

Williams then capitalized on a swift counter-attack with a brilliant finish to make it 3-1 before Olmo’s goal completed the victory and ended Georgia’s campaign.

Spain, the only team with a 100% record at Euro 2024, will now face its toughest test of the tournament so far against on Germany on Friday.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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