Record-breaking Kane the difference as England topple Italy in Euro qualifiers opener

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Record-breaking Kane the difference as England topple Italy in Euro qualifiers opener

Updated
Harry Kane scored from the spot
Harry Kane scored from the spotAFP
England’s 10 men valiantly held on to start their qualification campaign for UEFA Euro 2024 with a 2-1 over Italy, their first away victory against Gli Azzurri since 1961.

The same fixture that ended Euro 2020 started the qualification campaign for 2024, and England scored an early goal again on this occasion.

When Harry Kane’s effort from Bukayo Saka’s corner was blocked, Declan Rice was quickest to react and instinctively finished, with the goal marking the West Ham United captain’s third international strike in just his 40th England cap.

The Three Lions were roaring by now, and Jude Bellingham came agonisingly close to reaching Kane’s low cross for what would have been a certain second.

That eventually arrived shortly after John Stones blocked an effort from Mateo Retegui, as the Three Lions were awarded a penalty when Giovanni Di Lorenzo handled a corner delivery under pressure from Kane.

The Spurs man himself stepped up and sent Donnarumma the wrong way to become England’s all-time top goalscorer.

Things could have been even better for the visitors before the break, but Jack Grealish squandered a massive chance with the goal at his mercy after Kane played the ball to him.

Italy re-emerged defiantly after halftime and had renewed hope in the 56th minute when Lorenzo Pellegrini intelligently played a reverse pass to set up an opportunity that debutant Mateo Retegui clinically took.

Gli Azzurri continued to apply waves of pressure as they searched for a leveller, and England’s task got even more difficult when Luke Shaw received two bookings in just three minutes when he caught Retagui after being pulled up for time wasting.

Despite Wilfried Gnonto causing some nervous moments late on, prior to five minutes of added time, Gareth Southgate’s side got off to a successful start in what was expected to be their biggest test in Group C, making him only the third England manager to reach 50 wins.

Meanwhile, Italy haven’t got off to the start they wanted after missing out on a place in the last FIFA World Cup finals, losing a home Euros qualifier for the first time since 1999.

Flashscore Player of the Match: Harry Kane (England)

See all the match stats here.

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