Harry Kane become England’s outright record goalscorer as the Three Lions secured a first away win over Italy in almost 62 years with a 2-1 Euro 2024 qualifying victory.
In a repeat of a Euro 2020 final that was won by the Azzurri, Gareth Southgate’s side gained a measure of revenge in their Group C opener at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday.
Declan Rice opened the scoring and Kane deservedly doubled England’s lead with his 54th goal for his country from the penalty spot, breaking the record he shared with Wayne Rooney.
The Argentina-born Mateo Retegui reduced the deficit with a debut strike, but Italy suffered their first home loss to England since June 1961 and saw a run of 40 European Championship qualifying matches without defeat come to a halt in Naples despite Luke Shaw’s red card in the 80th minute.
54 – Harry Kane has the @England men’s record for:
Goals scored (54)
Goals as captain (46)
Goals via penalties (18)
Goals in a single year (16 in 2021)
Goals in major tournaments (12)
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 23, 2023
There was a touching pre-match tribute to the late Gianluca Vialli before England quickly stamped their authority on the game, the alert Rice firing home left-footed from inside the box 13 minutes in after Kane’s shot was blocked.
England were dominant and Kane made history to double their lead late in the first half, calmly sending Donnarumma the wrong way from the spot following a VAR check for a Giovanni Di Lorenzo handball.
Jack Grealish sliced wide when he ought to have added a third goal moments later at the end of another blistering Three Lions attack.
Italy looked like a different side after the break and Retegui controlled a clever reverse pass from Lorenzo Pellegrini before beating Jordan Pickford with a clinical right-foot finish 11 minutes into the second half.
Roberto Mancini’s side continued to put England under pressure and Shaw was given his marching orders for upending Retegui just a couple of minutes after he had been booked for time-wasting.
Italy were unable to salvage a point, though, as England dug in to see out a hard-earned victory in a great start to their qualifying campaign.
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