harry kane became England’s all-time top goalscorer for men as they began their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win over defending champions Italy in Naples on Thursday.
In a rematch of the last Euro Cup final, won on penalties by Italy, England were far superior in the first half and went into half-time leading 2-0 thanks to Declan Rice and Kane’s record goal from the penalty spot.
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But Italy fought back in the second half and halved their deficit in the 56th minute when Argentine Mateo Retegui scored on his Azzurri debut after a draw from harry maguire.
The look of the game changed even more with 10 minutes remaining when luke shaw He was sent off for a second yellow card as he left England to defend the final minutes with 10 men.
However, Gareth Southgate’s side did enough to hold on and pick up their first away win against Italy since 1961.
Although there will be concerns about how England lost their way in the second half, it turned out to be the perfect answer after the heartbreak of losing to France in the World Cup quarter-final in December when Kane missed a crucial penalty.
This time he was not wrong after giovanni di lorenzo he was penalized for a handball in the 42nd minute, finding the corner to claim another goalscoring record.
Kane was also involved in England’s opener when his blocked shot landed on Rice to silence most of the fans inside the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Italy, who beat England on penalties to win Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium but failed to qualify for the World Cup, were much more dangerous in the second half after the Argentine-born Retegui overcame with a shot satin. jordan pickford.
England sank lower and lower as they seemed to run out of legs, but Italy struggled to create clear chances and suffered their first Euro qualifier defeat in 41 games.
It was England’s first competitive win over Italy since 1977 and meant Gareth Southgate has racked up 50 wins as national team manager since taking over in 2016.
But the night was Kane’s.
“I just want to say that this has been a very special night for me personally and a very special night for the team,” Kane said. “It’s the first time England have won in Italy for a long, long time and to be a part of that is incredible.
“I also want to thank my teammates, the staff, the fans, my family back home and my wife. It is a truly special night that I will never forget and I am so proud.” And to everyone here, thank you to everyone who has made this dream come true.”
Rooney, whose goals came in 120 games compared to the 81 it took Kane to get ahead of him, was quick to congratulate his former international teammate.
“I knew it wouldn’t take long, but it was quick. A great man, an incredible goalscorer and an England legend. Congratulations Harry!” Rooney said on Twitter.
– How Kane broke Rooney’s record to become England’s top scorer
It was the first time Napoli had hosted the Azzurri in a decade, but it all went wrong for Roberto Mancini’s side as they were outclassed in the first half.
young midfielder Jude Bellingham He ran the show in the early stages for England and forced an excellent save from Donnarumma when he let fly with a ferocious shot from distance.
From the resulting corner, the ball fell to Kane and when his shot was blocked by leonardo espinazzola Rice liked to shoot past Donnarumma.
England looked dangerous every time they crossed the halfway line and Kane struck a low ball on goal.
calvin phillipssurprisingly given a start despite barely any minutes for Manchester City this season, he came close with a low show as Kane yelled for a pass.
Kane’s historic moment was a bit tough for Italy, as referee Srdjan Jovanovic decided after reviewing a monitor that Di Lorenzo had used his arm when a cross entered the box.
Kane dispatched the penalty to put England in cruise control and Jack Grealish squandered a glorious opportunity to make it 3-0 on the stroke of halftime.
Italy was another proposal after the break and Retegui marked his debut with a clinical shot.
Mancini sent Wilfrid Gnonto midway through the half and caused all sorts of trouble as Italy pushed on.
Shaw was booked for wasting time and a minute later picked up another yellow for a mistimed tackle and a declining England team had to work hard to cross the line.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.