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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium

Kane is more than able and his brace secures 3-1 win over Italy - roll on Euro2024

WEmbley Stadoum - England v Italy, October 17, 2023 Picture Paul Lagan
Wembley Stadium - England v Italy, October 17, 2023 Picture Paul Lagan

By Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium

England 3 v Italy 1

Euro Qualifier


Harry Kane pulled England back from the jaws of defeat to net a brace and send the Three Lions into the finals of Euros2024 in Germany next year.

Italy wanted to win to add pressure on England at the top of Group C, and they put themselves into the perfect position to replay their Euro2020 title defeat of England at Wembley.

But Jude Bellingham showed, albeit in patches what a Rolls-Royce of a player he is becoming.

He secured the penalty which Kane converted and set up Rashford for the second goal as the home side came from behind to dispatch a fractured looking Italian side 3-1.

Kane's second goal was a powerful individual effort, showing a degree of pace, strength and calm finishing.

But the 90 plus minutes were by and large a tepid affair – England needed only a draw while Italy lacked the confidence of an assured Azzurri of old.

When football is described as a game of chess, it usually means that very little has happened, it's quite defensive-orientated.

The early exchanges in this encounter were like a game of chess.

If it was of the world-class Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer variety of the 1970s, it might just be okay, but this was more sit-at home with the in-laws and playing because there is nothing on the telly variety.

A couple of early yellow cards - England's Kalvin Phillips and one for an Italian, got the crowd going a little bit.

But after 15 minutes, it all changed and the visitors scored a wonderful goal.

Fresh from their own back line that ball was moved with pace and guile between the defence and midfield. It was switched effortlessly to the right, where it was pinged across the six-yard box and Gianluca Scamacca thrashed home a venomous right-footer that smashed into the inside top netting of Jordan Pickford's goal.

Scamacca almost got his second, on 23 minutes, but his edge of the penalty area turn and shot inched wide of Pickford's right post.

A Bellingham header on 28 minutes, which drifted into the hands of Gianluigi Donnarumma was the best it got up to that point for the Three Lions, but that seemed to gave the home side a bit of a gee-up, and seconds later Bellingham raced into the Italy penalty area and was upended for a spot kick.

While VAR checked the referee's decision, Harry Kane took ownership of the ball.

The Bayern Munich striker dispatched the ball past Donnarumma to level the score.

Marcus Rashford forced a fine save by Donnarumma with a couple of minutes of the half remaining, the Italian parried the goal-bound effort away for a corner.

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

The chess match with the in-laws resumed as soon as the whistle was blown.

An edge of the area shot by Phillips which sailed over the Italy crossbar gave some of the crowd a bit of a lift, but the half-hearted attempts of a crowd chant to liven the spirits was simply not to be.

Domenico Beradi tried a 'Phillips' on 56 minutes – with the same result.

Straight up the other end raced Bellingham and Rashford.

The Real Madrid man passed the ball on to the Manchester United wide man, who still had much to do. He raced to the edge of the area, checked to his right and simply thumped a daisy-cutter that left Donnarumma rooted to the spot

It was a classically executed counter-attack goal.

Italy responded well and some lovely intricate one-touch play ended up at the right boot of Scamacca, who, trying his luck thumped the ball but Pickford snaffled the effort.

Marc Guehi replaced John Stones on 62 minutes.

With Phillips lucky to escape a second yellow card and red for a late challenge - he was rightly substituted, not for his performance, but for the fear of a sending off.

Jordan Henderson, the subject of boos from the crowd at the Australia game replaced him on 69 minutes.

There were equal boos to the cheers as the man who went to Saudi entered the fray.

With 14 minutes left on the clock, Kane showed he has a bit of speed to add to a finishing prowess as he latched onto ball on the right, fended off a half-hearted challenge before arrowing towards the Italy penalty area. He shrugged off a better challenge this time before coolly slotting home a right-footer past Donnarumma to book England's passage into the Euros finals.


Teams: England: Pickford, Waker, Trippier, Rice, Stones, Maguire, Foden, Phillips, Kane, Bellingham, Rashford

Subs: Johnstone, Ramsdale, Guehi, Henderson, Dunk, Colwill, Alexander-Arnold, Gallagher, Watkins, Grealish, Maddison, Bowen

Italy: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Udogie, Scamacca, Beradi, Acerbi, Christante, Frattesi, Barella, Scalvini, El Shaarawy

Subs; Vicario, Meret, Dimarco, Gatti, Locatelli, Kean, Bonaventura, Raspadori, Darmian, Mancini, Orsolini, Bastoni

Referee: Clement Turpin (France)


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