England Seal Euro 2024 Berth As Kane Double Sinks Italy

England qualified for Euro 2024 with a 3-1 victory over holders Italy at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, thanks to a double from Harry Kane.

Gareth Southgate’s team needed a point to be guaranteed of qualifying for next year’s tournament in Germany, but they fell behind early to Gianluca Scamacca’s goal.

But, inspired by a great performance from Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham, England rallied to equalize before the break with Kane’s penalty.

Bellingham won the penalty with a trademark surging run, and the 20-year-old prodigy also set up Marcus Rashford’s decisive strike after the break.

Underlining his own importance to the England cause, Kane struck again in the closing stages to give the skipper his 61st goal for the Three Lions.

With two group games still to play, unbeaten England, winners of five of their six qualifiers, are guaranteed to finish top of Group C.

“This was the toughest qualifying group with the seedings. We’ve performed really well,” Southgate said.

“The players are incredible to work with, so hungry, so eager to learn, so together.

“You saw that in the performance. It was relentless. What was really pleasing was that when we went behind we stayed calm.”

Following their failure to qualify for last year’s World Cup, Italy face a tense battle to secure the second automatic qualification place in the group.

Luciano Spalletti’s third-placed team are three points behind Ukraine.

Assured of a play-off place, Italy host North Macedonia before travelling to Ukraine in their remaining matches.

“It’s disappointing. We were a bit casual at times. Occasionally our attitude was found wanting,” Spalletti said.

“This is what European football is about at this level. It asks you serious questions.”

England has only lost one of their last 63 Euro and World Cup qualifiers, but qualifying for major competitions has never been a difficulty under Southgate.

Southgate’s term will be defined by his ability to end England’s quest for a first international men’s trophy since the 1966 World Cup.

England, who were defeated on penalties by Italy in the European Championship final at Wembley two years ago, have received some retribution by defeating the Italians twice in the group round.

Southgate believes his team is a better all-around unit than the one that lost the Euro final.

And with Kane and Bellingham at his disposal, there can be no excuses if they don’t bring home the silverware from Germany.

Sublime Bellingham 

England’s midfielder #10 Jude Bellingham celebrates after winning at the end of the Euro 2024 qualifying group C football match between England and Italy at Wembley, in London, on October 17, 2023. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP

England shown their character by recovering from the collective collapse that allowed Italy to take the lead in the 15th minute.

Declan Rice failed to make a crucial tackle, allowing Giovanni Di Lorenzo to run into the England area ahead of the out-of-position Kieran Trippier.

Di Lorenzo sent in a low cross that eluded Harry Maguire at the near post, allowing Scamacca to blast into the top of the net from close range for his first international goal in his 13th game.

Bellingham, who has been in superb form for Real Madrid this season, was instrumental in bringing England level in the 32nd minute.

Bellingham surged through on goal, catching Italy off guard, before Di Lorenzo’s tackle left the midfielder tumbling.

Di Lorenzo claimed he had a foot on the ball, but the penalty was granted after a lengthy VAR review, and Kane stepped up to send Gianluigi Donnarumma the wrong way for his 60th England goal.

In the 57th minute, England struck again as Bellingham tracked back to reclaim possession with a sliding tackle before racing forward from the halfway line.

Rather than going it alone, Bellingham unselfishly slid a pass out to Rashford, who punished Italy’s terrible defense by advancing unimpeded into the area and unleashing a clinical strike past the exposed Donnarumma.

Kane ended Italy’s hopes in the 77th minute, nicking the ball off Giorgio Scalvini’s toe and unleashing a crisp finish that sent England packing for Germany.

 

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