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Is the Bellingham-Kane magic some kind of sign of fate at work? | Football News

It’s definitely some kind of sign. One of the pre-tournament favourites, England appeared on their way out of Euro 2024 after trailing 0-1 against a lesser opponent Slovakia in their Round of 16 tie on Sunday. But then, with 86 seconds left on the clock, something happened that is not so common in international football.

England’s Jude Bellingham celebrates with Harry Kane.(REUTERS)

Frankly speaking, if England had been knocked out at Arena AufSchalke in Germany, it would not have been much of a shock for anyone in light of the kind of tournament they had had heading into the encounter.

They labored during the group stage. It was not the kind of group that would put the wind up a team like England, third-best ranked team in Europe. Forget Brexit for now!

Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia are not the kind of teams a top team like England would bother about much. But against all predictions, they struggled all through the group stage.

In their opener against Serbia, a lukewarm 1-0 win came their way despite Jude Bellingham scoring early into the contest. 1-1 and 0-0 draws followed against Denmark and Slovenia, giving the British media that has so many former footballers in its ranks a great opportunity to tear into the team. Players as well as manager Gareth Southgate provoked unprecedented ire in recent times. The criticism was just, mind you.

England is the only top team in the region that has not won the Euros. It’s a matter of great embarrassment to them. They boast that the Premier League is the best in the world, and undeniably over the years they have produced some great footballers. But how do you explain not winning the continental championship, not even once?

Last time around in 2021, they had reached the final amid much fanfare but couldn’t overcome Italy. Since they haven’t won a World Cup either since 1966, just like three years ago, it was again important for Southgate and his men to break the trophy jinx somehow.

Following their win against Slovakia that saw Bellingham score an acrobatic goal in second-half stoppage time to make it 1-1 and then Harry Kane head the English team into a 2-1 win in extra time, fans have started wondering if there was a hand of fate in all this. And they can’t be blamed for thinking like that! It’s not often a team reaches the Euro quarterfinals despite putting on view a ridiculous performance.

After an incredible season with Real Madrid where he won the league as well as the Champions League, Bellingham was expected to shine in Germany. To tell the truth, that fact the English were considered one of the pre-tournament favourites was largely down to his presence and that of Kane in the squad.

So far they haven’t disappointed. The four goals England have scored so far in the tournament… they have come from the efforts of Bellingham and Kane. What we have seen, especially from Bellingham… there is no doubt he has put himself ahead in the race to the Ballon d’Or, a feat no Englishman has achieved since Michael Owen in 2001.

England now face 19th-ranked Switzerland on Saturday in the quarterfinals. Fortune has favoured them so far and the Round of 16 win should instill belief into the players that they can go all the way and bag the trophy. Going forward they will to have play like they did in the last few minutes against Slovakia not to totally rely on fate. The Swiss are undefeated in the tournament so far. In their Round of 16 tie, they knocked out none other than the defending champions, Italy. They won’t be easy opponents.

The British media has been heaping praise on the team since yesterday’s comeback win but we all know how pessimistic they are internally just like their bleak weather back home. The moment Southgate’s men falter, they will pounce onto them like a pack of hounds. It’s high time they improved in a big way and played like they should and preferably win the tournament. The wait for a big trophy has been way too long.

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