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Kane breaks record as England enjoy rare win over Italy

Harry Kane has become England’s all-time top scorer as he took his tally to 54 by netting a penalty against Italy in their 2-1 Euro 2024 qualifier win.

March 24, 2023
24 March 2023

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 on Thursday.

Debutant Mateo Retegui halved the deficit in the 56th minute as the hosts dominated the second half, but England secured a first win 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 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, 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.

England sank deeper and deeper as they appeared to run out of legs but Italy struggled to create clear chances and suffered a first Euro qualifying defeat in 41 games.

It was England’s first competitive victory over Italy since 1977 and meant Gareth Southgate has racked up 50 wins as the national coach since taking the job in 2016.

But the night belonged to Kane.

“This means everything,” Kane said. “So excited to get back out there and put the England shirt back on.

“And it had to be a penalty of course. Once it hit the back of the net there was so much emotion. Just huge thanks to the players, staff and fans.”

It was also a record-breaking night for 38-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo, who made his 197th showing for Portugal to boast the most ever international appearances in the 4-0 win over Liechtenstein.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United striker marked the occasion by converting a penalty and adding another second-half goal to move onto 120 goals in internationals.

At Parken Stadium in Denmark, the hosts beat Finland 3-1 thanks to a hat-trick from striker Rasmus Hojlund in his first start for his country.

In other Euro results, Slovenia beat Kazakhstan 2-1 and Northern Ireland defeated San Marino 2-0.

Meanwhile, for the first time since the country’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia played a soccer match against a nation from outside the borders of the old Soviet Union.

A 1-1 draw with Iran in Tehran was played in front of 78,000 spectators and comes after months of Russia seeking closer ties with the Asian Football Confederation.

Russia are banned by UEFA from competing in qualifying for Euro 2024.

Both goals came from the penalty spot. Iran striker Mehdi Taremi cancelled out the opener by Anton Miranchuk, one of those selected in an entirely Russia-based squad.

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