Harry Kane's brace inspires England's thrilling comeback win against Italy to qualify for Euro 2024
In an exhilarating match at Wembley, Harry Kane's exceptional performance propelled England to a remarkable comeback, defeating defending champions Italy 3-1 and clinching their spot at Euro 2024.
England secured their spot at Euro 2024 after a remarkable comeback led by Harry Kane, who netted a crucial double to defeat reigning champions Italy 3-1 at Wembley on Tuesday. Requiring a single point to ensure qualification for the upcoming tournament in Germany, Gareth Southgate's team initially fell behind to Gianluca Scamacca's early goal. However, inspired by an outstanding performance from Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham, England responded by equalising before halftime through Kane's successful penalty.
Bellingham earned the penalty through a dynamic run and later played a pivotal role in Marcus Rashford's decisive goal after the break. Kane, emphasizing his importance to the England team, struck again in the closing stages, marking his 61st goal for the Three Lions.
With two group games yet to be played, England remains unbeaten, triumphing in five out of six qualifiers, guaranteeing a top finish in Group C.
"This was the most challenging qualifying group given the seedings. We have displayed excellent performance," Southgate remarked. "The players are exceptional to work with—passionate, eager to learn, and united. You could see that in the performance, which was relentless. What pleased me most was our composure when we fell behind."
In contrast to their failure to qualify for the previous year's World Cup, Italy faces a tense battle to secure the second automatic qualification spot in the group. Luciano Spalletti's third-placed team lags three points behind Ukraine. While assured of a play-off place, Italy will host North Macedonia and then travel to Ukraine for their remaining matches.
England has only suffered one defeat in their last 63 Euro and World Cup qualifiers, yet clinching major tournaments has been the challenge during Southgate's tenure. His ability to end England's quest for their first international men's trophy since the 1966 World Cup will be the defining factor in Southgate's reign. Having been defeated on penalties by Italy in the European Championship final at Wembley two years ago, England has sought retribution by defeating Italy twice in the group stage.
Southgate believes that the current squad is more well-rounded than the one that lost in the Euro final. With stellar players like Kane and Bellingham at his disposal, there are no excuses if they do not return with silverware from Germany.