Euro 2024: England escape Slovakia thanks to massive late goals from Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane

TOPSHOT - England's midfielder #10 Jude Bellingham celebrates with England's forward #09 Harry Kane after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Euro 2024 round of 16 football match between England and Slovakia at the Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen on June 30, 2024. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
England is heading to the quarterfinals of Euro 2024 thanks to Jude Bellingham's game-tying goal at the end of regulation and Harry Kane's winner in extra time. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane came to the rescue for England on Sunday.

Bellingham scored an incredible game-tying goal on a bicycle kick in the 95th minute against Slovakia in the Round of 16 of Euro 2024. Less than a minute of game time later, Kane scored the game winner as England came back to get a 2-1 win and advance to the quarterfinals.

Slovakia went ahead in the 25th minute thanks to a goal by Ivan Schranz and defended mightily for 70 minutes. Bellingham’s incredible strike in the fifth minute of added time was England’s first shot on target the entire game.

And then not long after the game restarted, Kane gave England the lead with his second goal of Euro 2024. Officially, Kane’s goal came in the 91st minute.

Bellingham’s moment of brilliance ignited what had been a lackluster tournament for the 21-year-old. Bellingham had been slotted into the No. 10 role in England’s 4-2-3-1 formation behind Kane up front and had struggled to provide a spark through England’s first three games. But the goal showed why Bellingham is one of the best midfielders in the world and one of the most important players for England.

England manager Gareth Southgate then subbed out both Bellingham and Kane for more defensive players ahead of the final 15 minutes of extra time. The cautionary moves resulted in Slovakia applying pressure over the game's final minutes. But England's defense stood firm to set up a matchup with Switzerland in the quarterfinals.

After Schranz scored, Slovakia knew what was going to happen; England was going to control the ball and crowd around the goal. In response, Slovakia dropped two lines of defense in and around the penalty box and forced England to figure out a solution.

England thought it had an equalizer in the 50th minute but Phil Foden’s goal was overruled rightly for offside. Foden was ahead of the last defender when he found himself wide open in front of the net. England celebrated like a huge sigh of relief, but a replay review made official what was obvious to anyone watching in real time that Foden was offside.

Until Bellingham's moment of magic, it felt like a foregone conclusion that Euro 2024 was going to be the latest chapter in a book of high-profile failures for the men's national team since it last won a major trophy at the 1966 World Cup.

England entered Euro 2024 as the pre-tournament favorites, yet underwhelmed in the group stage with five points and two goals in its three group games.

The five points was enough for England to win Group D and the group victory put England on an incredibly manageable side of the knockout-round bracket with Spain, Germany, France and Portugal all on the other side.

Sunday's win against a Slovakia team without nearly as much talent is much more of an escape than a sign that this English team is capable of winning Euro 2024. But sometimes all you have to do is eke out a win in a single-elimination tournament. And thanks to the individual brilliance up front for England, that's exactly what the Three Lions did on Sunday.