Harry Kane. [Source: Reuters Sports]
Harry Kane became England’s record international goalscorer as his side began their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign by beating reigning champions Italy 2-1 in Group C.
England’s skipper struck a penalty past Italy keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma shortly before halftime to make it 2-0 after Declan Rice opened the scoring after 13 minutes.
Debutant Mateo Retegui halved the deficit in the 56th minute as the hosts responded but England held on to claim their first victory over Italy on Italian soil for 62 years despite having Luke Shaw sent off for receiving two yellow cards.
It proved to be the perfect response by England after the heartache of losing to France in the World Cup quarter-finals in December when Kane missed a crucial penalty.
This time he made no mistake after Giovanni Di Lorenzo was penalised for a handball in the 42nd minute, finding the corner to take his England tally to 54, one more than Wayne Rooney.
Kane was also involved in England’s opener as his blocked shot fell for Rice to convert to silence the majority of fans inside the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Italy’s, who beat England on penalties to win Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium but failed to qualify for the World Cup, were far more dangerous in the second half after Argentina-born Retegui smashed a low shot past Jordan Pickford.