Italy 1 England 2: Spot-on Kane breaks goalscoring record

Harry Kane scored his 54th goal for England to break the national team record in their 2-1 win over Italy in Naples to get their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign off to a flying start.

Boss Gareth Southgate made just two changes from the team beaten on penalties by France in the World Cup quarter-finals when they faced the defending Euro Cup champions, who had defeated them in another penalty shootout at Wembley in July 2021.

Manchester City pairing Kalvin Phillips and Jack Grealish entered the starting XI, with the other nine names lining up against France in Al Khor.

And Kane once again captained the team, with the Tottenham striker needing just one goal to move away from Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time top scorer.

Harry Maguire remained in defense despite being limited to a supporting role at Manchester United, while Italy manager Roberto Mancini with the match played at Napoli, whom Diego Maradona twice led to the title of Serie A and the UEFA Cup, made his debut for Argentina-born striker Mateo Retegui.

Marco Verratti captained the hosts, who wore unique shirts when they played for the first time since the death of former striker and manager Gianluca Vialli, with Arsenal’s Jorginho the sole Premier League representative in their starting eleven.

England opened the scoring with 13 minutes remaining, with West Ham United captain Declan Rice converting the ball home after Kane’s shot from a corner into the box had been blocked on its way.

Kane had a chance to not only break the record, but also put his missed penalty behind him in the World Cup loss to France when England were awarded a penalty.

A VAR check ruled handball against Giovanni Di Lorenzo when referee Srdjan Jovanonic pointed to the spot after checking his pitchside monitor.

The England captain stepped up and made no mistake, sending Gianluigi Donnarumma down the wrong path to claim an unrivaled 54th England goal.

England should have gone on at the interval later on, but Grealish managed to miss the goal when presented with a nearly open net, meaning the visitors had to settle for a 2-0 half-time lead.

Italy reduced the arrears when Retegui scored his goal with a goal, finishing clinically after being played by Lorenzo Pellegrini.

And England’s task of maintaining their lead was made more difficult when Luke Shaw was sent off after picking up two yellow cards in the space of two minutes: the first for wasting time and the second for fouling Retegui.

The visitors survived the closing stages with 10 men to record their first away win over Italy since 1961 and start Group C on three points as the champions crashed to defeat.

England’s new record goalscorer, Kane, admitted a lot of emotions ran high after his historic penalty in Naples.

“Yes, it means everything,” he told Channel 4.

“We were very excited to put on the England shirt again and come back here and start the Euro campaign next year.

“It had to be a penalty, of course, and once it hit the back of the net, it was a lot of emotion.

“Just thanks to all the players, the staff, the fans, my wife, my family back home and everyone who helped me get to this stage. It’s just a magical moment.”

“Luckily I saved it and it was a great night. We haven’t won in Italy for so long. To score and win the game is special.”

“Obviously the World Cup was a difficult way to end. It was difficult to end it that way.”

“We’re talking about going back to that. We feel like we’re one of the best teams in Europe and we just have to keep knocking on the door.”

“We’re getting close, but coming here and putting in a performance like that today shows that we’re ready for the next challenge.”

Rooney congratulated the Spurs striker on becoming the nation’s all-time leading scorer, adding that he “knew it wouldn’t take long.”

Former Manchester United striker Rooney tweeted: “Congratulations to @HKane on becoming @England’s all-time top scorer.

“I knew it wouldn’t take long, but it was quick. A great man, an incredible goalscorer and an England legend. Congratulations Harry.”

And former Leicester, Tottenham and Barcelona striker Gary Lineker, who has scored 48 goals in 80 England appearances, tweeted: “Many congratulations to @HKane on becoming @England’s all-time leading goalscorer. Wonderful achievement.” .


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