- England defeated Italy 3-1 at Wembley to defeat them in Group C, securing their spot at Euro 2024.
- The Three Lions were taken by surprise by an early Gianluca Scamacca goal.
- Harry Kane’s brace, Marcus Rashford’s goal, and a brilliant all-around performance from Jude Bellingham contributed to Gareth Southgate’s team qualifying.
England defeated Italy 3-1 at Wembley to defeat them in Group C, securing their spot at Euro 2024 and completing their revenge against Italy.
The Three Lions were taken by surprise by an early Gianluca Scamacca goal, but Harry Kane’s brace, Marcus Rashford’s goal, and a brilliant all-around performance from Jude Bellingham all contributed to Gareth Southgate’s team qualifying with just one point needed to secure their flights to Germany with two games remaining.
How the game unfolded
Rashford’s 25-yard free kick fizzed past the crossbar in the 12th minute, but the much-transformed hosts enjoyed a better start under the Wembley arch.
However, much as on Friday, the men in white were still having trouble with opportunity creation. In the 15th minute, an ex-West Ham United player greeted his triumphant return to London with a sucker punch of Scamacca proportions.
During a rapid counterattack, the Azzurri moved from the left to the right. Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s ball from the byline reached Scamacca, who was strangely left unmarked in the center of the goal and shot home from close range into the top of the net.
John Stones was nowhere to be seen as Scamacca scored his first-ever senior Italy goal, further deflating the mood at Wembley as Harry Maguire opted for Davide Frattesi at the front post.
On the stroke of the half-hour mark, though, the hosts’ two best players combined to deadly effect as Kane held the ball up for Bellingham, who raced through the center into the penalty box and was slashed by Di Lorenzo.
After a protracted VAR review, Clement Turpin’s decision to give a penalty was ultimately maintained. Gianluigi Donnarumma’s prior Wembley penalty success did not help Kane, who easily sent the Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper the wrong way for his 60th England goal.
At the conclusion of the first half, both Donnarumma and Jordan Pickford had to step up to save Marcus Rashford and Destiny Udogie, respectively. But 12 minutes into the second half, another 20-year-old would ignite the stadium on fire.
After recovering possession of the ball close to his penalty area, Bellingham instigated an England counterattack by lavishly gliding over Giorgio Scalvini on the halfway line. The Real Madrid star then laid off Rashford, who cut inside and skillfully hammered a low shot into the bottom corner.
The following 10 minutes were relatively incident-free for England, but Kalvin Phillips was quickly replaced by Jordan Henderson after being booed off against Australia. Phillips was lucky not to get another yellow for catching Scalvini with his studs.
A few loud jeers could still be heard, but when captain Kane officially confirmed his country’s spot in next year’s Finals in the 77th minute, the whole Wembley crowd was in raptures.
The Bayern Munich forward was able to easily outmuscle and spin Alessandro Bastoni, prod the ball past Scalvini, and score one-on-one against Donnarumma after receiving a long ball over the top from Marc Guehi.
Having amassed 16 points from their five games in Group C, England is also certain of qualifying for the Euros in first position since Ukraine, who defeated Malta, has a worse head-to-head record and cannot overtake Southgate’s squad.
The Three Lions conclude their impressive qualification campaign next month against Malta and North Macedonia.