Bellingham-inspired England reach Euro quarter-finals – Sport

GELSENKIRCHEN: Jude Bellingham rescued England from crashing out of Euro 2024 against Slovakia on Sunday with a stunning 95th-minute equaliser before Harry Kane’s early extra-time winner sent the sub-par pre-tournament favourites into the quarter-finals.

Slovakia started far sharper than England and gave their opp­o­nents several warnings before Ivan Schranz placed a deft finish past goalkeeper Jor­dan Pickford in the 25th minute.

England, who will next face Switzerland, had come back to win their last three Euro games in which they conceded first, including the last edition’s semi-final, and thought they were level shortly after the break but Phil Foden was clearly offside before tapping home.

Harry Kane uncharacteristically headed a Foden free kick wide and Declan Rice hit the post as Slovakia were pinned deep in their own half late on, though England seemed to lack belief as their fans grew ever more frustrated.

But Bellingham, a day after his 21st birthday, equalised with an incredible bicycle kick at the death to take the game to extra time with England’s first shot on target.

And England took less than a minute after the restart to take the lead when Kane headed past the despairing Martin Dubravka from close range to complete a remarkable turnaround.

Slovakia had faded as the game drew on and went closest to an equaliser of their own just before halftime in extra time, when Peter Pekarik kneed a dangerous cross over the bar.

DORTMUND: Germany’s Jamal Musiala scores past Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during their match at the BVB Stadion.—AFP

England repelled a late wave of balls into the box to secure a fortunate victory and set up a quarter-final clash with Switzerland in Duesseldorf on Saturday.

They will, however, need to be far better against the Swiss, who outplayed defending champions Italy in the last-16 and were unfortunate to concede a late equaliser against Germany in the group stage.

Late on Saturday, Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala’s second-half goals sent Germany into the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over Denmark after their last-16 clash was delayed by a thunderstorm.

The game was suspended for 20 minutes in the first half due to the weather before Danish defender Joachim Andersen went from hero to zero soon after the break when his close-range finish was disallowed for offside and he conceded a penalty converted by Havertz in the 53rd minute.

The hosts established an unassailable lead in the 68th minute, however, when Musiala ran on to a ball over the top and curled home his third goal of the tournament to put Germany into the last eight, where they will face Spain or Georgia.

Havertz scored with a tidy finish as the stadium exploded in joy and as Denmark chased the equaliser, they were often exposed to counter-attacks and Havertz and Leroy Sane missed good close-range chances.

Musiala did not waste his chance, however, as he burst on to a long pass and placed a calm finish past Kasper Schmeichel to secure Germany’s place in the quarter-finals.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2024

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