Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate failed to get his tactics right against Slovakia Image Credit: AFP

Just when I thought England’s Euro 2024 campaign couldn’t get any worse, Gareth Southgate’s side prove me wrong once again.

England failed to deliver on their pre-tournament tag of favourites in their three group games and continued their dismal run of form against Slovakia in the last 16 last night.

The only positive? That somehow they managed to advance to the quarter finals.

But let’s be real here, England were literally seconds away from one of the most miserable nights in their history. Had it not been for Jude Bellingham’s glorious overheard kick in the 95th minute – England’s first shot on target – they would have suffered their most embarrassing defeat since losing at the same stage to Iceland at Euro 2016.

That’s not to be disrespectful to Slovakia, they were solid and had a clear game plan, but they’re ranked 45th in the world rankings. England are fifth.

With the strength in depth that England have at their disposal, they should be coming through that tie with a lot more ease than they did yesterday.

How can a team full of so much talent look so lost on the pitch for four games running?

Us England fans are all just waiting for something to click, but I cannot currently see how Southgate is going to turn it around against the Swiss on Saturday.

You could easily make an argument that results win tournaments and not performances, but England will not keep getting away with it. We look unbalanced, disjointed and Southgate's stubbornness with his team selection is not helping matters.

Jude Bellingham celebrates his last gasp goal against Slovakia
Jude Bellingham celebrate his last gasp goal against Slovakia Image Credit: AFP

After a woeful first half, England were in desperate need of a reshuffle at half time but Southgate failed to make one change. It wouldn’t be until the 66th minute that Cole Palmer was introduced for the injured Keiran Trippier – by that time, Slovakia manager Francesco Calzona had already made three replacements.

Southgate opted for two further changes in the 90 minutes, introducing Eberchi Eze in the 84th minute and Ivan Toney in the 94th minute. Why he waited so long to freshen things up beggars’ belief as every man and his dog could see that things weren’t working. What is Southgate seeing that nobody else is?

England ended the match with two shots on target – Bellingham’s equalizer in the 95th minute and Harry Kane’s winner in the first minute of extra time.

That’s simply not good enough for a team of England’s capabilities and must be put down to the tactics once again. We sit so deep and fail to advance up the pitch without any real urgency despite in desperate need of a goal. It’s so frustrating to watch.

I couldn’t wait for this tournament to start but it now feels like a chore to watch this England team.

Southgate’s time with England would have surely ended if it wasn’t for Bellingham’s brilliance last night. It’s likely it will still end following Euro 2024, with his contract ending later this year anyway.

He has been gifted a ‘Get Out of Jail Free card’ and has the opportunity to turn his disappointing final chapter into a success.

Going from what we’ve seen so far in Germany, England will head into Saturday’s game against Switzerland as the underdogs despite starting the tournament as favourites to hoist the trophy.

If England are to advance, he must approach the game a whole lot differently than he has done the first four games. Maybe being on the cusp of such an embarrassing exit from the tournament can be the catalyst for the England manager to finally realise things aren’t going to plan.

Southgate got us in this mess, but he can also get us out of it.