Harry Kane savoured the “magical moment” of becoming England’s outright record goalscorer in a 2-1 Euro 2024 qualifying victory over Italy.
Kane made history in the Three Lions’ Group C opener at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday, breaking a record he had shared with Wayne Rooney by converting a penalty just before half-time.
The captain’s 54th goal for his country doubled England’s lead after Declan Rice had opened the scoring in a repeat of a Euro 2020 final that Italy won at Wembley in July 2021.
Argentina-born Mateo Retegui pulled a goal back on his Azzurri debut, and although Luke Shaw was sent off in the 80th minute for a second bookable offence, Gareth Southgate’s side held on for their first victory away to Italy since May 1961.
Kane told Channel 4: “It means everything. We’re so excited to put the England shirt back on, get the campaign started for the Euros next year. It had to be a penalty, of course, but once it hit the back of the net there was so much emotion.
“It’s a magical moment. Thanks to everyone who’s helped me get to this stage. It’s a great night. We haven’t won in Italy for so long. To score, and win this game, is just special.”
Kane added: “I was on the pitch when Wayne broke the record. I know what it meant to him and I was so proud of him. I remember when I presented him the boot for breaking the record, he said he would be giving it back to me one day. A special man.”
Rooney wasted no time in congratulating his former team-mate.
He posted on social media: “Congratulations to @HKane on becoming @England’s all-time leading goalscorer. I knew it wouldn’t take long but that was quick. Great man, unbelievable goalscorer and an England legend. Congrats Harry.”
Congratulations to @HKane on becoming @England’s all-time leading goalscorer. I knew it wouldn’t take long but that was quick . Great man, unbelievable goalscorer and an England legend. Congrats Harry pic.twitter.com/mX7M8S8al3
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) March 23, 2023
Tottenham’s record goalscorer Kane suffered the agony of a missed penalty that saw England crash out of the World Cup with a defeat to France at the quarter-final stage in December.
The striker felt it was important to show a positive response to that heartbreak in Naples.
He said: “It was tough to finish in that way, but we spoke this week about getting back to it. We feel like we are one of the best teams in Europe.
“Coming here and putting in a performance like that today shows we are ready for the next challenge. We’ve got a difficult campaign ahead.”
Italy’s defeat was their first in 41 European Championship qualifying matches.
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