With an incredible comeback led by Harry Kane’s double, England defeated holders Italy 3-1 at Wembley on Tuesday, securing their spot at Euro 2024.
Gianluca Scamacca’s goal early on proved to be a problem for Gareth Southgate’s team, who needed a point to guarantee their place in the tournament in Germany the following year.
But thanks to a brilliant performance from Jude Bellingham, a midfielder for Real Madrid, England responded to tie the score before halftime with a penalty kick from Kane.
With a characteristically forceful move, Bellingham had won the penalty kick, and the 20-year-old genius also set up Marcus Rashford’s game-winning goal after the break.
In the closing moments, Kane scored again, highlighting his own significance to the England campaign and giving the captain his 61st goal for the Three Lions.
Having won five of their six qualifiers, undefeated England is certain to top Group C with two games remaining.
“With the seedings, this qualifying group was the hardest. We’ve done incredibly well,” Southgate remarked.
“The players are a pleasure to work with; they are so hungry, so willing to learn, and so cohesive.
“That was evident during the performance. It didn’t stop. It was incredibly satisfying that we maintained our composure as we moved behind.”
Italy is in a tight race to take the second automatic qualifying spot in the group after missing out on the World Cup last year.
The third-place team under Luciano Spalletti is three points adrift of Ukraine.
With a play-off spot guaranteed, Italy will play their last games at home against North Macedonia and away to Ukraine.
It is disheartening. At times, we acted a little carefree. Every now and then, people found our approach lacking,” Spalletti remarked.
At this level, European football is all about this. It poses important queries to you.”
In their last sixty-three Euro and World Cup qualifiers, England has only lost once, but under Southgate, winning big events hasn’t been a problem.
What will distinguish Southgate’s rule is his capacity to bring an end to England’s long quest for their first international men’s trophy since the World Cup in 1966.
England got some retribution after losing to Italy on penalties in the European Championship final at Wembley two years ago. They defeated Italy twice in the group.
Compared to the team that lost the Euro final, Southgate thinks his team is a more cohesive unit.
Furthermore, he has Bellingham and Kane at his disposal, so there are no justifications if they don’t return from Germany with the trophies.
In the fifteenth minute, Italy took the lead thanks to a collective collapse that England recovered from to demonstrate their character for the momentous occasion.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo outran Kieran Trippier, who was playing out of position, and into the England area before Declan Rice botched a crucial challenge.
Di Lorenzo curled over a low cross that escaped Harry Maguire at the near post, setting Scamacca up ideally to shoot from close range into the roof of the net for his first goal for his country in his 13th appearance.
It was not surprising that Bellingham, who has been in such outstanding form for Real this season, was a big factor in bringing England level in the 32nd minute.
Bellingham raced through on goal, taking advantage of Italy’s weakness, and Di Lorenzo’s tackle sent the midfielder tumbling.
After a protracted VAR review, Di Lorenzo’s claim that he had a foot on the ball was rejected. Kane then used his opportunity to score his 60th goal for England, sending Gianluigi Donnarumma the wrong way.
In the 57th minute, Bellingham tracked back to win possession with a sliding challenge and then raced forward from the halfway line to give England another goal.
Instead of doing it alone, Bellingham selflessly set up a pass for Rashford, who punished the woeful Italian defense by charging unopposed into the area and clinically finishing past the vulnerable Donnarumma.
In the 77th minute, Kane put an end to Italy’s chances of scoring. The Bayern Munich striker took the ball off Giorgio Scalvini’s toe and finished coolly to send England packing for German