04.07.2024 16:33 h

Stones hoping Bellingham escapes ban

John Stones said on Thursday that he hopes Jude Bellingham will be available for England's Euro 2024 showdown with Switzerland as the Real Madrid star awaits a verdict on his controversial goal celebration.

Governing body UEFA could ban Bellingham after he was filmed mimicking a crotch grab while apparently looking towards Slovakia's bench after his last-gasp equaliser which kept England in the tournament.

England take on the Swiss on Saturday thanks to Bellingham, who lashed in a stunning 95th-minute bicycle kick to draw his team level at 1-1 with Slovakia before Harry Kane won the last-16 tie early in extra-time.

"He's done it all season, come up with some massive goals for Madrid and he has done here as well," Manchester City defender Stones told reporters.

"I hope he's there, I'm not sure what's going on with everything around that, all we can focus on is hopefully scoring a bit earlier this time."

England take on Switzerland with a great chance to finally break a 58-year major tournament duck as they sit on the other side of the knockout bracket to all of the other tournament favourites.

Under Gareth Southgate, England have reached the last Euros final and went deep at the last two World Cups only to fall short, in the semi-finals in 2018 and the last eight four years later in Qatar.

"I think in the World Cup we had another similar run, a run that we felt we could win and it didn't happen," added Stones.

"We've got an incredible opportunity at the weekend to get through to another stage... We've been in these positions before and it's time for us to realise where we are and the magnitude of these things."

A win over the Swiss, who dumped out Italy in the last 16 and also impressed in a Group A draw with hosts Germany, would set up a semi-final with Turkey or the Netherlands.

Meanwhile Germany face Spain and Portugal do battle with France on the other side of the bracket.