From 'Iceland vibes' to 'get-out-of-jail-free card'

At half-time in England's game against Slovakia there were "Iceland vibes" and, even at the end, "Sweet Caroline didn't sound very sweet" - but the Three Lions are in a fourth quarter-final in a row under Gareth Southgate.

After three performances ranging from awful to average in the group stage, many pundits had wondered if a convincing win in the Euro 2024 last-16 tie would lay down a marker for a team who had been favourites to win the tournament.

But, instead, talk was of a "get-out-of-jail-free card" thanks to Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane.

England trailed at the break, with Ivan Schranz capping off a fine move to give Slovakia - a team ranked 45th in the world - the lead.

That brought back memories of Euro 2016, when unfancied Iceland shocked England at the same stage of the tournament.

Roy Hodgson resigned as manager after that game - and there are many who think Southgate will end his reign as England boss this summer after being in charge since November 2016.

ITV pundit Gary Neville, who was Hodgson's assistant that summer, said: "I was sitting on the bench in Nice when England played Iceland - this game has Iceland vibes.

"Gareth Southgate needs to rip up the script."

Former Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane added: "It's the biggest team talk of Gareth Southgate's career.

"Southgate could be out of a job in 45 minutes if he doesn't change something. He needs to go out on his shield."

Did things pick up in the second half? Not really. Until the end anyway.

Phil Foden had a goal disallowed for offside soon after the break - but England struggled to get any control of the game following that opportunity.

Joe Hart was England's goalkeeper for that Iceland upset eight years ago and, after retiring from playing this summer, was watching the game for BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I can relate to this," said the ex-Manchester City and Celtic player. "It is not a nice feeling. I was there in 2016. As a team, and as players, you are just hoping for one more chance."

There was one more chance.

In the fifth minute of added time, Real Madrid star Bellingham scored England's latest-ever goal at a major tournament (excluding extra time) - with a remarkable overhead kick from near the edge of the box.

"He looked dead on his feet and then, after he had scored, he was pressing at the start of extra time," said ex-England defender Matt Upson on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"He scored a crucial header in the first game [against Serbia] and that was a clutch moment for England there.

"I don't think you can change these performances now. We are relying on moments of brilliance."

Former England midfielder Danny Murphy, added on BBC One: "There was spirit, resilience and fight but lets give it the reality it deserves. It was a surprisingly poor performance, especially creatively.

"We are very lucky because we are blessed with one of the best players in the world and he produced a goal very few are capable of doing. He saved a lot of players from a lot of criticism."

That goal was England's first shot on target. Their second came 50 seconds into extra time when their all-time top scorer Kane headed in.

There were no more. They seemed to go back into their shell and were hanging on at the end at Schalke's ground.

Hart added: "It is such a shame when you can see them be so dominant but when they go ahead they just become so cautious.

"Let's cash in the get-out-of-jail-free card and build on it.

"I expect when we have won, for the hairs to stand up on my neck and I just don't feel like that. I feel like I should be buzzing. It’s going to have to be a huge improvement to get anything out of the Switzerland game on Saturday."

England fans, as they do, sang Sweet Caroline afterwards as the England players and Southgate went over to thank them for their support.

Some of them may have been among those filmed outside the ground after 90 minutes, before running back in when news of Bellingham's goal broke.

"Sweet Caroline doesn't sound very sweet," said former England right-back Neville.

"Relief is the word of the day and we should thank our lucky stars. We were woeful and we have been woeful for four games."

Former Arsenal and England defender Martin Keown called it "one of the most remarkable England games and performances I’ve seen".

"They were on their way home and then two goals in two minutes," he added. "We were hanging on but we're still in there with a shout."

What now? Time for a tactical revolution?

England, who lost on penalties to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, play Switzerland in Saturday's quarter-final at 17:00 BST, a game which will be live on BBC One.

"Switzerland are a step up," said Hart of the team who beat Italy in their last-16 tie.

Several of the pundits also wonder if it is time for an England reshuffle.

Ten of Southgate's starting line-up have been the same for each game, with only the midfield partner to Declan Rice changing.

They have played with a flat back four - but in extra time ended up playing with three centre-backs and attacking players Bukayo Saka and Eberechi Eze as wing-backs.

Switzerland play with a back five.

Upson, who scored for England at the 2010 World Cup, said: "There's nothing to lose because what we're doing isn't blowing anyone away.

"If we're going to play like this, we may as well match up game by game and think let's do what we need to do for the opponent."

Centre-back Marc Guehi will be suspended for the Swiss game and full-back Kieran Trippier went off injured against the Slovaks.

Trippier, usually a right-back, has played on the left for the first four games because Luke Shaw is not yet fit to play.

"The centre-back partnership will be broken up, will Trippier be fit?" asked former West Ham defender Upson.

"It may well suit England to play a back three with Kyle Walker, John Stones and Ezri Konsa. Can Luke Shaw feature?"

Neville added: "We have got to change something drastically. Everybody in the country has been crying out for more change."