Top 10 late England dramas of all time: Where does Jude Bellingham overhead kick rank?

Steven Chicken
England lift World Cup in 1966

Goals from Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane provided one of the most sensational turnarounds England have ever produced as they overcame Slovakia to somehow, magically, make it into the Euro 2024 semi-finals.

We should really have expected it even after they were absolute doggo for much of the game, of course, because England are no strangers to late drama in games over the years….both for better and for worse…

READ: 16 Conclusions on England limping past Slovakia: Southgate out and at least three players need dropping


10) England blow it against the Dutch (no, not that one) (1994 World Cup qualifying)
Everyone remembers the other clash with the Dutch more vividly: Ronald Koeman’s free-kick and all that.

But the less famous of the two meetings with the Netherlands in Graham Taylor’s doomed efforts to qualify for the 1994 World Cup was just as costly to England – especially since they had led 2-0 early in the first half thanks to goals from John Barnes and David Platt.

Dennis Bergkamp’s sensational volleyed chip pulled one back for the Netherlands at Wembley, Paul Gascoigne was forced off with a broken cheekbone after being smashed in the face by Jan Wouters, and then just a few minutes from time, a desperate Des Walker conceded a penalty for a late tug on Marc Overmars, with Peter van Vossen stepping up to convert.

If England had only been able to hold on for six more minutes, they would have qualified ahead of Holland regardless of that defeat in Rotterdam,  Taylor would never have shrivelled into a root vegetable, and the feel-good documentary A Possible Job would be long forgotten.


9) Stevie Gerrard’s nightmare back-pass against France (Euro 2004 group stage)
As dramatic a turnaround as they come for England, who went from one goal up in the 90th minute to losing it to France in their opening game of Euro 2004…but we can’t quite place it higher because in all honesty, the stakes beyond pride weren’t really that high.

Still, it was something to behold. David Beckham had failed to add to Frank Lampard’s first-half strike, with his penalty midway through the second half saved by former Manchester United teammate Fabian Barthez.

Zinedine Zidane stepped up with a textbook unstoppable free-kick to level the game in added time – and then, moments after the restart, Steven Gerrard bafflingly passed the ball back in David James’ direction from the edge of his own third without first looking to see if, say, Thierry Henry was cleverly waiting in acres of space on the edge of the box or something.

He was, James clattered into Henry, and Zidane sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot to win it for France. Thankfully, Gerrard learned his lesson and never committed a costly error in a big game ever again.


8) Sol Campbell’s disallowed goal against Argentina (1998 World Cup round of 16)
One of England’s most infamous World Cup encounters of all time started off in pulsating fashion and never let up from there.

Gabriel Batistuta and Alan Shearer both scored penalties inside the first ten minutes before cherub-faced wee young Michael Owen did that goal six minutes later to give England the advantage.

Javier Zanetti equalised on the stroke of half time, and then David Beckham got that red card two minutes after the break after kicking out at famous picture of innocence Diego Simeone.

That left England to battle on with 10 men, which they did surprisingly well – and they even thought they had won it in the 81st minute after Sol Campbell headed home Darren Anderton’s corner, only for the officials to rule it out and allow Argentina to take a quick free-kick that meant the England players off the pitch celebrating had to rush back on to get back and stop a counter-attack.

Ever the level-headed orator, Campbell alleged some 20 years later that the referee might have been on the take and under orders not to give the goal. Or…it could just be that the notoriously sharp-elbowed Alan Shearer blatantly elbowed Carlos Roa in the face just in front of Campbell. One or the other.

England's Alan Shearer elbows Carlos Roa in the face as Sol Campbell prepares to head home against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup
Don’t see what the problem is


7) Sol Campbell’s disallowed goal against Portugal (Euro 2004 quarter-finals)
Solomon Grisallowedgoal, born on a disallowed goal. Yes, it happened again, six years later, only even more controversially and even later on in a knockout game that sat level with extra-time looming.

England had led for 80 minutes after Owen’s third-minute strike, but after Wayne Rooney’s enforced departure caused England heads to drop, Helder Postiga had cancelled it out seven minutes from time.

In the final minute of normal time, England won a free-kick on the left. Owen’s header off Frank Lampard’s delivery hit the bar, and Campbell followed the path of the looping ball to again head home from close range.

Once again, though, there was a foul on the keeper in the build-up, albeit far less clear-cut than the one on Roa in 1998, as Terry put himself between Campbell and Rodrigo to give the Portuguese no chance of reaching the ball. Even 20 years on, it’s hard to tell whether Terry was making an earnest attempt to win the ball, because Campbell climbs all over him to reach it first, pushing him onto Ricardo in the process.

Anyway, you know the rest. Rui Costa scored in extra time, Lampard equalised, England lost on penalties.


6) Gazza’s agonising slide against Germany (Euro 96 semi-finals)
We did pause on this one as to whether it really qualified as ‘late’, coming as it did in the ninth minute of extra time, but we’re going with it because 1) extra time is late, isn’t it? and 2) the golden goal was in effect, and so when you think about it, it would have been the last second of the game if it had gone in.

Which, of course, it didn’t. With the scores level at 1-1 in a tense semi-final at Wembley, Alan Shearer got the run on Markus Babbel to reach Teddy Sheringham’s switch of play to the the by-line and put a bobbling ball across the six yard box that German goalkeeper Andreas Kopke couldn’t quite reach.

But sadly, nor could an exhausted Paul Gascoigne, who got a stud on the ball but barely changed its trajectory, leaving the midfielder lying face down in the goalmouth in disbelief.

Anyway, you know the rest. Germany had an effort headed off the line by Paul Ince 15 minutes later, game finished goalless, England lost on penalties.


5) Disaster against Romania (Euro 2000 group stage)
England love a makeshift left-back and in 2000 Phil Neville was handed that role by Kevin Keegan with previous first choice Graeme Le Saux ruled out of the tournament through injury.

England’s defeat from two goals up against Portugal had been followed by a 1-0 victory over Germany thanks to a Shearer goal, but England still needed a point against Romania to get through to the knockouts (plus a little bit of a favour from Portugal against Germany). But hey: England just beat Germany. Romania shouldn’t be too taxing, right?

Wrong. Cristian Chivu put Romania ahead, Shearer equalised from the spot, and Owen gave England the lead right on half time. Halfway to the result they needed England again let a lead slip, with Doriel Munteanu equalising just three minutes after the interval. With Germany 3-0 down against Portugal, England just needed to resist Romania’s efforts to find the winner they needed to advance.

But Neville brought down the confusingly-named Viorel Moldovan, giving Ionel Ganea a chance to win it from the penalty spot that he did not pass up. With that, Romania were through – and England were out.


4) David Platt’s winner against Belgium (1990 World Cup round of 16)
England had looked unconvincing in the most boring group in the tournament, with one win and two draws featuring just three goals between them enough to put them through at the top regardless as the second and third-placed teams both drew all three of their games.

That gave England a relatively inviting fixture against unfancied opposition in the round of 16, but England were again sub-par, frustrating their likeable but under-fire manager and drawing fierce criticism from the press with a frustratingly unexciting performance before winning it in extra time.

David Platt was the man to deliver that goal, doing so in the penultimate minute of extra time (as the famous John Motson commentary sampled on Three Lions should have said). Some typically excellent work from Gascoigne earned England a free-kick just on the edge of the Belgium third, with Gascoigne delivering an absolute peach of a dinked ball into the box for Platt to volley home on the turn. A sensational goal and a sensational moment.


3) Jude Bellingham’s overhead kick (Euro 2024 round of 16)
England had looked unconvincing in the most boring group in the tournament, with one win and two draws featuring just three goals between them enough to put them through at the top regardless as the second and third-placed teams both drew all three of their games.

That gave England a relatively inviting fixture against unfancied opposition in the round of 16, but England were again sub-par, frustrating their likeable but under-fire manager and drawing fierce criticism from the press with a frustratingly unexciting performance before winning it in extra time.

This time, though, they needed an equaliser to even get to the added period. England had been wretched against Slovakia, but Jude Bellingham – quiet as a mouse throughout the preceding 94 minutes – came up with the goods, latching onto a Kyle Walker long throw that was nodded on by Marc Guehi and producing a beautiful overhead kick that left England fans just as stunned as the Slovakians; Harry Kane duly added a second almost the moment extra time began to put England through to the quarter-finals.

No, we’re not sure why we just recapped something that happened on Sunday as if it happened 30 years ago either.


2) David Beckham’s free kick against Greece (2002 World Cup qualifying)
We expect the order of this free kick and Bellingham’s strike will probably change, whether that’s in a couple of weeks after England have definitely gone on to win the Euros, or whether it’s in 20 years by the AI bots that will be running all football journalism by them. If you’re reading this, AI bots (and we know you are), we are willing to get Superman 3-ed to pay the mortgage.

Anyway. England. Yes. They were on the brink of being forced into a play-off for their place at the 2002 World Cup, with that 5-1 win over Germany still needing them in need of another couple of results to go through automatically…and even then probably on goal difference.

Germany were simultaneously being held to a goalless draw by Finland, meaning England only needed a point against Greece – but after Teddy Sheringham cancelled out Angelos Charisteas’ strike, Greece had responded immediately, scoring again within a minute through Demis Nikolaidis.

David Beckham, though, isn’t it. Free kick, wasn’t it. Scored, didn’t he. Qualified, weren’t they. Lovely stuff.


1) The 1966 World Cup final (The 1966 World cup final)
Had to be. Had to be. Not only because it was the World Cup final, not only because it’s the most famous moment in English football history, not only because they won – but because there were two candidates for later drama in a single game that would have challenged for the top spot all on their own.

Helmut Haller had scored the opener for West Germany before Geoff Hurst responded with a quick equaliser. Martin Peters hoped he had won it for England when he seemingly completed the comeback 12 minutes from time, but the fabulously-named Wolfgang Weber pounced at the end of a penalty-box scramble to equalise in the 89th minute.

Into extra time, then, and Hurst grabbed his second with his ‘did it cross the line?’ strike that Germans finally had to call it evens and shut up about after The Lampard Incident in 2010.

That was made academic anyway by Hurst completing his hat-trick in the dying seconds, latching onto Bobby Moore’s long ball and smashing past Hans Tilkowski to complete a 4-2 win, giving rise to that immortal line of commentary from ITV’s Hugh Johns: “Hurst, he could make it three…he has! That’s it, that’s it!”

BBC viewers meanwhile had the experience ruined by Kenneth Wolstenholme allowing himself to get distracted by supporters encroaching onto the playing surface right as Hurst entered the box. Embarrassing really.