Jude Bellingham, England’s Perfect 10, Lights the Torch at Euro 2024

The “Bellingham burst” has become more than just a catchy phrase for England fans; it’s a symbol of excellence. In a pivotal moment during the game against Italy, Jude Bellingham’s extraordinary talent shone through, serving as a beacon of hope for England’s Euro 2024 prospects.

The match had reached the half-hour mark, and Wembley was restless. England’s static midfield and aimless passing were causing frustration to swell among fans. Italy, initially subdued, had taken the lead and seemed to have England right where they wanted them. While this Azzurri side may not be as formidable as their predecessors, they successfully lured England into a slow and uninspiring buildup.

Fortunately, Jude Bellingham’s presence on the field guarantees excellence. He embarked on a game-altering run that tore through Italy’s midfield and defense, earning England an important penalty and making Bryan Robson proud. It would not be his last bold act.

England’s qualification for Euro 2024 has never been in doubt, but this performance hinted at the exciting possibilities that await when they switch into tournament mode. Gareth Southgate had crafted a team for the big occasions, one that combines grit and finesse to overcome formidable challenges.

Italy had previously tested England at Wembley, and the scars from that match could only fully heal with victory in Germany. The atmosphere this time around felt different, quieter, in line with the unique mood leading up to the game. The prevailing sentiment was to focus on the negatives and take England’s consistency for granted, as Kyle Walker noted.

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Southgate values reliability within his system, and this was evident as Kalvin Phillips, despite his absence from Manchester City’s lineup, partnered with Declan Rice, just as they did in the ill-fated final. The difference this time was Jude Bellingham, granted the freedom to roam and create.

Early on, Phillips received a booking, and there were moments of uncertainty as Italy threatened. But Bellingham’s brilliance was yet to fully emerge. England’s second goal was a masterclass, displaying the best attributes of its creators.

The sequence started with Rice’s crucial challenge near the 18-yard line, followed by Bellingham’s tenacious tackle on Nicolò Barella. Bellingham swiftly turned defense into attack with a breathtaking solo run, assisted by a sublime pass from Phil Foden. The finish, courtesy of Marcus Rashford, showcased the teamwork and skill that defined this outstanding goal.

It was sensational football, played on the edge, with every move carrying the potential to unlock opportunities. Harry Kane, with a reminder of his ability to produce magic, sealed the game with a goal, solidifying England’s path to Germany.

As the crowd chanted “We’re going to Germany,” the moment felt truly special. Even the mixed reception for Jordan Henderson couldn’t dampen the overwhelming sense of optimism. When Bellingham left the field, substituted for Jack Grealish, the ovation was befitting a hero. This might just be the night that Wembley crowned a new one: England has a dynamic, relentless talent that could make them proud nine months from now.

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