Italy vs England 1-2: Kane Makes History as Three Lions Win in Naples

In the first round of the Euro 2024 qualifiers, England avenged their defeat against Italy in the final of the previous edition, beating Roberto Mancini’s men in their own backyard in Naples. Not even Diego Armando Maradona could derange the Three Lions who produced a dominant showing at a stadium named after the memory of their greatest foe.

After trailing 0-2 at halftime, the Azzurri produced an improved second-period display and managed to cut down the deficit, but eventually fell short in finding an equalizer against ten-man England.

Starting Lineups

Roberto Mancini adopted his usual 4-3-3 lineup despite the absentees. Gianluigi Donnarumma started between the posts, while the defense consisted of Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Rafael Toloi, Francesco Acerbi and Leonardo Spinazzola.

In the middle of the park, captain Marco Verratti rekindled his partnership with Jorginho and Nicolò Barella, while Tigre striker Mateo Retegui earned his debut, flanked by Domenico Berardi and Lorenzo Pellegrini.

On the other hand, Gareth Southgate opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation, spearheaded by Harry Kane. The skipper was supported by Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish on the wings, as well as Jude Bellingham who played in a more advanced position, leaving the double pivot roles to Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice.

As usual, Jordan Pickford maintained his spot in goal, while the experienced backline featured Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw.

English Invasion

The match began with an immediate English onslaught, as the visitors knocked on Donnarumma’s door several times in the opening ten minutes.

Following a series of stern warnings, England finally took the lead against a bewildered Italy that was yet to find its rhythm. A corner kick fell to Kane who saw his shot blocked, but Rice pounced on the loose ball, as his shot crept between a sea of players to sneak past the Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper.

The British remained the dominant side for the rest of the first half, although their pace dropped at times. For their part, the hosts were only able to forge a couple of half chances throughout the opening period.

Kane Breaks England’s Record

At the end of the first half, Di Lorenzo clumsily handed the ball inside his own box while trying to mark Kane on a corner kick. Following a VAR review, the referee pointed to the spot, allowing the Tottenham Hotspur star to make history.

Kane converted the penalty kick to overtake Wayne Rooney’s previous record and become England’s all-time top-scorer with 54 goals.

Retegui scores on Italy Debut

Following the halftime break, Italy entered the field looking reenergized, and it didn’t take them too much time to pull one back courtesy of Retegui.

Maguire gave away the ball before clipping Barella in an attempt to regain it, but the latter was quick enough to find Verratti who picked up Pellegrini in his turn. The Roma captain put the Italo-Argentine through on goal, and the debutant made no mistake, slotting his shot past Pickford.

Ten-Man England Hold On

For the rest of the encounter, Italy pushed hard in search of a winner, and received a major boost when Luke Shaw earned his marching orders for two yellow cards in quick succession, leaving England with a man down.

Nonetheless, the equalizer never came, as the Three Lions collected their first three points of the qualifiers. For the Azzurri, they can only shift their attention towards Sunday’s encounter in Malta, as they can longer afford to commit another misstep.

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