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Italy 1-2 England: Kane makes history to gain revenge over Azzurri
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Peter Thompson
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Declan Rice celebrates opening the scoring in Italy
Declan Rice celebrates opening the scoring in Italy

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. 

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.

What does it mean? Three Lions finally pull off Italian job

Not since a 3-2 triumph in May 1961 had England won away to Italy but they were not to be denied on this occasion and have now secured maximum points in 18 of their past 19 European Championship qualifiers.

This was their first victory over Italy anywhere since August 2012, with the Azzurri losing a Euro qualifier for the first time since France beat them 3-1 in September 2006.

After failing to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar last year, Mancini's men must regroup as the holders look to return to a major tournament in Germany next year.

Kane out on his own

Captain Kane endured the pain of a costly missed penalty when England were knocked out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage by France in their last match.

Tottenham's leading all-time scorer made amends to surpass Rooney's total in his 81st game for the Three Lions.

Kane also has the most goals as captain (46) for England, the most penalties (18), the highest number of goals in a year (16 in 2021) and more goals in major tournaments (12) than any other player.

Retegui takes his chance

Mancini defended his decision to look overseas and select Retegui, bemoaning the lack of attacking options at his disposal.

The striker took his opportunity, although that will be of little consolation to the defending champions.

Key Opta facts

This was only Italy's fourth ever home defeat in a European Championship qualifier and their first since losing 3-2 to Denmark in September 1999.

Kane has scored in 18 of his last 19 qualifying appearances for major tournaments (World Cup/Euros), scoring 27 goals across these games.

Southgate has become only the third manager in England's history to register 50 wins, along with Walter Winterbottom and Alf Ramsey.

Italy conceded two goals in a home European Championship qualifier for the first time this century — the last team before England to achieve this were Denmark in a 3-2 win in September 1999, also in Naples.

Mateo Retegui, who plays for Tigre in Argentina, is the only player in the history of the Italian national team to score his first goal for the nation while playing his club football outside of Europe.

What's next?

England take on Ukraine at Wembley on Sunday, when Italy make the trip to face Malta.


ItalyEnglandEuropean ChampionshipHarry Kane
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