Euro 2024: England v Slovakia – live

Key events

30 min “It’s almost enjoyable how predictable this is,” says Graham Randall. “So slow and ponderous like the previous three games. Not sure just changing one midfielder was helpful.”

Anthony Gordon is the change I’d make, perhaps as early as half-time. Probably for Foden but there’s a case for Saka and Bellingham as well.


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28 min Whisper it, but going behind might be the best thing that has happened to England. If this doesn’t wake them up, nothing will.


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27 min Play has yet to restart because of an injury to Guehi, who hurt his shoulder while challenging for Pekarek’s long pass.

Pekarek’s long ball was headed on by Kucka to Strelec on the edge of the D. He had time to turn, wait for Schranz to run outside him and thread a perfect through ball. Schranz stayed on his feet despite contact from behind by Guehi – that could have been a penalty and a red card – and flicked the ball nonchalantly past Pickford from six yards. It’s hs third goal of the tournament.


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GOAL! England 0-1 Slovakia (Schranz 25)

Slovakia are so much more than the sum of their parts. The angles they make for each other when they have the ball are really impressive – and now they’ve scored!

Slovakia’s Ivan Schranz celebrates scoring their first goal. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

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24 min The corner is half cleared to Mainoo, who booms a volley over the bar from 22 yards. Decent effort.

23 min Bellingham swerves away from Vavro on the edge of the area, moves forward and flicks the ball square towards Foden. He goes down but play continues. Trippier crosses to the far post, where Kane’s header hits Hancko and goes a few yards wide.

21 min I’ve covered all Slovakia’s games in this competition and, while it might just be coincidence, they’ve been a lot better in the first half than the second. It won’t be the end of the world for England if they are level at half-time, especially as Slovakia are the better team right now.


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20 min “This dude is card happy!” says Joe Pearson.

There’s a red coming at some stage isn’t there. England’s last at a major tournament was Wayne Rooney for trying to vasectomise Ricardo Carvalho in 2006.

19 min Lukas Haraslin has played for Parma, Lechia Gdansk, Sassuolo and Sparta Prague. What gives? All tournament he has looked world class, and in the first 20 minutes he’s troubled Kyle Walker more than the great Vinicius Junior ever could.


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18 min “I consider myself weird for watching the match on TV while my phone is on the MBM,” boasts Krishnamoorthy V. “I feel better after seeing Gareth watching a match on a tablet in the dugout.”

17 min Bellingham becomes the fourth player to be booked already. Haraslin had skinned Walker and then Bellingham wiped him out.

Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

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13 min Kucka is booked for a cynical foul on Trippier.

12 min: Chance for Slovakia! Haraslin makes a brilliant run behind Walker, onto a lovely through pass from Strelec, and is quick enough that Walker can’t make up the ground. He cuts across Walker, gets into the area and sidefoots a shot that is vitally blocked by the sliding Guehi. Then the ball ricochets around the penalty area before eventually being cleared.

That wasn’t the most convincing finish from Haraslin, who in hindsight should have whipped it to the near post. But in general play he looks fantastic.

Slovakia’s Lukas Haraslin. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

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10 min “England simply have to come out with their heads up, and get a proper stomp on this game,” says Bill Preston. “The team are really missing players that can turn a game through their thrilling theories. The Omission of Grealish (not my band, but the absent player, passim) has exposed the lack of inventiveness and flair in this squad. On inventiveness and flair, I saw Girls Aloud last night and that was super fun.”

9 min Bellingham plays a clever pass across the field to Trippier on the edge of the area. He takes the shot first time and launches it into orbit. There was a bobble.

9 min Lukas Haraslin is 28 years old and plays for Sparta Prague. He looks a terrific player to me.

8 min Lovely feet by Haraslin, who cuts inside Mainoo on the edge of the D and pings a shot that is blocked. Then another excellent ball flashes across the face. Slovakia have come to play.

7 min Mainoo flicks a beautiful return pass to Saka on the right side of the area. Saka’s first touch is fractionally heavy, which allows a defender to get across and block his shot.

Mainoo is then booked for a late challenge on Duda. That looked a bit harsh.

5 min: Chance for Slovakia! Haraslin, this excellent left winger, breaks behind Walker, runs at Stones and then plays in the overlapping Hancko. He slides the most inviting cross shot that goes just wide of the far post.


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4 min The resulting free-kick almost leads to a chance at the far post, though it turns out somebody was offside.

3 min Guehi has been booked and will miss the quarter-final if England get there. He was sold down the river by a short pass from Trippier; Strelec got to it first, knocked it past Guehi and was flattened.

Turkish referee Umut Meler shows a yellow card to England’s defender Marc Guehi. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

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2 min Slovakia are pressing England, as promised, and for the time being England are keeping the ball in their own half.


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1 min And they’re off. Slovakia, in blue, kick off from right to left as we watch.


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So now what: a dominant performance or a fight for dear life? We’re about to find out.

“Living in France without the benefit of Sky, BT Sports et al, my knowledge of current England footballers is gleaned largely through the musings of the MBM,” says Richard Hirst. “I am therefore unable to add to the debate (if that is not too august a word) about whether x or y should be inverted.

“I am, however old enough to have lived through 58 years of hurt (I remember as a 12 year old hiding my face behind a cushion when West Germany equalised, to hide my tears), so I am happy to acknowledge Southgate’s achievements over a number of tournaments. Let him get on with it, and support whatever team he puts out. Not exciting I know, but he deserves it.

”On the cultural front, I am disappointed not to have seen a Jude the Obscure headline, given Bellingham’s travails. But there’s still time.”

A reminder of the teams

England (4-2-3-1) Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guehi, Trippier; Mainoo, Rice; Saka, Bellingham, Foden; Kane.
Substitutes: Shaw, Ramsdale, Konsa, Dunk, Gallagher, Toney, Gordon, Watkins, Bowen, Eze, Gomez, Henderson, Palmer, Wharton, Alexander-Arnold.

Slovakia (4-3-3) Dubravka; Pekarik, Vavro, Skriniar, Hancko; Kucka, Lobotka, Duda; Schranz, Strelec, Haraslin.
Substitutes: Obert, Rigo, Gyomber, Suslov, Tupta, Benes, Rodak, Hrosovsky, De Marco, Duris, Bero, Ravas, Sauer, Kosa, Bozenik.

Referee Umut Meler (Turkey).

The teams are about to emerge. The winners of tonight’s game will play Switzerland in Dusseldorf on Saturday.

Seven of the England XI started the last 16 game against Germany three years ago. Those missing are… Harry Maguire, Kalvin Phillips, Luke Shaw and Raheem Sterling.

Not long now. Jordan Pickford has hurt his hand in the warm-up, as he did on Tuesday, although he seems fine.

It’s a cool afternoon in Gelsenkirchen, with none of the extreme heat or lightning we saw yesterday. Sounds like the main problem at the moment is midges.

“Maybe the answer to Palmer or Saka is both,” says David Howell. “You’d have to drop Foden or Bellingham but Saka on the left as an orthodox winger there would play to what England have now, with Trippier naturally inclined towards underlapping from the left. (Good at it, too; would have had an assist against Slovenia from it if Gallagher had just jumped.)

“England’s main attacking malaise seemingly comes from so many players inclined towards the same space. This would remove one of them (the dropped one of Foden/Bellingham) from the equation, and send another (Saka) to where he’s less inclined to cut inside.”

I’m sure Saka would be really good on the left, and I agree with everything you say about the centre being too crowded, but he has barely played there since the 2020-21 season. Football is so structured now that I think the days of pulling rabbits from hats have gone.

Harry Kane introduces his new podcast

“I’ll see your Rousseau and raise you Kristofferson: ‘Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose’,” says Joe Pearson. “Apply that to whomever you deem worthy.”

Read Ben Fisher’s Germany diary

It is two weeks since I spent my first full day of the tournament in Wolfsburg’s A&E, an X-ray confirming a toe fracture that has meant I have spent much of my time in Germany on crutches. The doctor, Dietrich, tells me he is a reader of these pages. Well, at least our political coverage of Hungary. A nurse asks for the company address before spending the next few minutes perusing Google images of pictures of Kings Place, aka Guardian Towers, and chuckling at my byline picture.

A fortnight on, this Friday is less weird: I venture to Velbert, a town on the hills of Niederberg renowned for producing locks, which is base camp for Georgia, surely the funnest team here. I get back pronto to avoid being caught in the crosshairs of an anti-far-right protest starting at Essen station.

‘You’re weird. No that was a compliment

“8 months ago would you have believed you’d be at the Euros?” 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

“No” ❌

“Would you have backed yourself? 🤔

“𝗬𝗲𝘀” ✅

The Rise of Kobbie Mainoo ⭐️🎥@GabrielClarke05

— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 30, 2024

Barney Ronay on the moreish misery of watching England

This is how it is in Germany, seeing the team in the flesh. England’s games feel like epic story beats, stop-the-clock moments of shared national angst, sport and identity and yearning all bundled into a single living show.

Cos life’s like this/Aha, aha/That’s the way it is

Jonathan Wilson gets out his stethoscope and asks England to lift up their T-shirt

Against Denmark there was a worrying sense fans had their England back; it wasn’t just that it was incoherent, it was that England seemed morally broken, incapacitated by a characteristic blend of ego and dread, struggling to play 10 yards passes at half-pace.

“One of the things pundits and critics are always saying is that Southgate should let the players play with more freedom, or unleash them to express themselves more,” says David Wall. “What nonsense. They seem to forget that most of these players play in Premier League teams that employ tightly constrained systems, where they rehearse attacking and defensive movements ad infinitum to the extent that they know where team-mates will be if they make a certain movement on or off the ball. It’s so well rehearsed it looks off-the-cuff and improvised, like a Mike Leigh film.

“People should remember their enlightenment literature, particularly Rousseau: ‘Freedom is living according to rules we make for ourselves’. If we really want the players to play with freedom then Southgate needs to find a system, or set of rules, they understand and can carry out on the pitch. He has done at previous tournaments so hopefully he can do so again here.”

Still 45 minutes to kick off and we’ve already got Rousseau and Mike Leigh in the house. The only way is down.

Introducing today’s opponents. They’re good, you know, and they won’t die wondering.

I am lucky because I have a very focused team who want to play offensively. We must be defensively sound, we must care about the details, but I trust my players. Until now they have given us a lot of satisfaction in terms of performance and behaviour.

The players on a yellow card

England Marc Guehi, Phil Foden, Kieran Trippier, Conor Gallagher

Slovakia Ondrej Duda, Ivan Schranz

Gareth Southgate’s pre-match thoughts

Kobbie uses the ball really well and that will help us get through their high press. He’s looked very comfortable in an England shirt, he’s played some huge games for his club and he looks totally relaxed in our environment.

[Why only one change?] Those players over a period of time have proved themselves to be our best. But we also have good players on the bench to change things.

Slovakia have pressed high in their previous games. They’ll come to us and we’ve got to be good enough to play through that pressure. We need to press them too because they use the ball well.

In knockout games you need composure and resilience. As we saw last night, anything can happen in these games and you’ve got to bread to deal with whatever comes your way.

I’ve liked how the players have responded over the past week. It’s simple: we have to deliver on the pitch.


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Team news: Mainoo starts

As expected, just the one change for England, with Kobbie Mainoo replacing Conor Gallagher in midfield. Slovakia are unchanged.

England (4-2-3-1) Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guehi, Trippier; Mainoo, Rice; Saka, Bellingham, Foden; Kane.
Substitutes: Shaw, Ramsdale, Konsa, Dunk, Gallagher, Toney, Gordon, Watkins, Bowen, Eze, Gomez, Henderson, Palmer, Wharton, Alexander-Arnold.

Slovakia (4-3-3) Dubravka; Pekarik, Vavro, Skriniar, Hancko; Kucka, Lobotka, Duda; Schranz, Strelec, Haraslin.
Substitutes: Obert, Rigo, Gyomber, Suslov, Tupta, Benes, Rodak, Hrosovsky, De Marco, Duris, Bero, Ravas, Sauer, Kosa, Bozenik.

Referee Umut Meler (Turkey).

3 – Kobbie Mainoo (19y 72d) is the third-youngest player to start a knockout stage game for England at a major tournament (World Cup/EUROs), after Michael Owen v Argentina in 1998 (18y 198d) and Wayne Rooney v Portugal in 2004 (18y 244d). Occasion. #EURO2024

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 30, 2024


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“I get that Saka hasn’t been quite at his best so far, mostly in the last game where he got a bit stuck,” says Josh Hardie. “But I do find it a little odd that the ‘no width no pace’ mantra has taken hold, given he is Arsenal’s most effective runner and hugs the touchline like few others. Personally I think he’s been one of England’s better performers overall, and gets a bit of a tough time.”

I was thinking more on the left, where England are too narrow. I’d also argue that, though he’s quick, he isn’t lightning like, say, Gordon, and he probably doesn’t run in behind as much. Agree he’s had a tough time and personally think it would be wrong to leave him out for Palmer at this stage. He has so much credit in the bank. I’d view Saka and Palmer as a partnership who will cover 90/120 minutes between them.

Read David Hytner’s preview

I’m enjoying being here. I want to be here for another fortnight. I’ve got nothing to rush back for. I’m in the final of the padel. There’s a lot to look forward to.

Pivote department

Andrew Anthony on how a nation fell out of love with waistcoats

The journey from hero to zero can be disorientingly rapid in international football management, where Newton’s third law of motion has been rewritten to become: every action has an unequal and hysterical overreaction.

Team news

Gareth Southgate is expected to make one change from the draw with Slovenia: Kobbie Mainoo for Conor Gallagher in midfield. That will improve the speed and progressiveness of England’s passing, though it won’t resolve the relative lack of pace and width in attack.

Just another day at the office for Kobbie Mainoo. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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Good afternoon one and all. Who fancies watching a bit of history? Today in Gelsenkirchen, either England or Slovakia will break new ground: England by qualifying for yet another quarter-final, Slovakia by reaching the first in their history.

England have never before reached the quarter-finals in four consecutive major tournaments*. In the grand scheme this is a golden age, one that England fans will look back on with wistful eyes and misty smiles when they’re older. Yet right now there is an almost irreconcilable discord, one that will only go away if England win their next four games 10-0 Gareth Southgate finds a way to start Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Cole Palmer, Anthony Gordon and Ollie Watkins in the same team.

A feature of this golden age has been kind draws, and England are again in the better half of the draw. Their route to the final – evening Roy – is Slovakia, Switzerland and Turkey/Netherlands/Austria/Slovenia.

Slovakia are a neat, well coached and extremely experienced team who have already beaten Belgium. It won’t be easy, but England should win. Heaven help us all if they don’t.

Kick off 5pm.

* They have reached the last eight at four consecutive tournaments, though, between 1986 and 1992. The European Championship was an eight-team competition in those days; England went out at the group stage on both occasions.


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