La Liga

Southgate admits he nearly took Bellingham off before superb equaliser

Bellingham celebrates scoring for England against Slovakia.

Gareth Southgate admitted he was thinking about taking Jude Bellingham off before he scored a superb 95th minute equaliser. 

England were on the brink of an embarrassing exit to Slovakia, who took the lead through Ivan Schranz and were less than two minutes from a famous victory.

Bellingham had other ideas and he produced a superb bicycle kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time to send the game to extra time, where Harry Kane headed home the winner to set up a quarter final with Switzerland.

Southgate thought about taking Bellingham off

Southgate made one change from the game with Slovenia as Kobbie Mainoo replaced Conor Gallagher in midfield.

The game followed the same pattern as England’s previous games with the Three Lions starting slowly and struggling to get a foothold, before Slovakia took the lead in the 25th minute.

England tried to make something happen but Slovakia made it really difficult for them, and Southgate turned to Cole Palmer in the 66th minute to try and find a breakthrough.

Bellingham scored a superb 95th minute equaliser to spare England’s blushes.

Nothing appeared to working and England were heading out without even having a shot on target, until Jude Bellingham produced an individual piece of brilliance to save Southgate and England’s blushes.

After the game Southgate was full of praise for the 21-year-old, but admitted he was thinking about taking him off.

“Fantastic, we were thinking should we take him off, but you know he is capable of those sorts of moments,” he told BBC Sport.

“We know in the game itself we needed to better with the ball, we couldn’t find the right solutions in the first half and we did it better in the second.

“Under that pressure they kept probing. In the end it is the old fashioned long throw that gets the goal, those moments can happen when you keep wearing a team down.”

England haven’t been anywhere near their best this tournament, but they have found a way to win and had some luck which is what you need in tournament football.

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