Italy 1-2 England: Three Lions cling on for vital win to kickstart Euro 2024 qualifiers

England held off a late Italy fightback with ten men to earn a vital win to begin their qualification campaign for Euro 2024.

After a tricky first few minutes, the Three Lions settled in Naples and began to move the ball with intent through Jude Bellingham in particular.

A fine counter-attack from their own corner flag saw the young midfielder test Gianluigi Donnarumma in the 14th minute, moments before they took the lead.

A deep corner from Bukayo Saka was fired goalwards by Harry Kane, whose effort deflected into the malestrom for Declan Rice to power home.

The Three Lions settled into a comfortable rhythm against a tame Italian frontline, led by debutant Mateo Regetui, and doubled their lead late in the first half from another deep corner.

This time, Giovanni Di Lorenzo handled the ball in his tussle with Kane and the referee pointed to the spot after VAR’s intervention. Kane stepped up to bury his 54th goal, breaking the all-time England record in the process.

It should have been 3-0 before the first half was over as Kane rolled a cross for Jack Grealish, who cut a far-post effort across the face of goal and wide from only yards out.

England started the second half slowly and were punished when Harry Maguire dived in, leaving his zone exposed by Regetui to dart into and slam home a 56th-minute reply.

Italy continued to up the ante but failed to test Jordan Pickford again, although the visitors’ task became significantly harder when Luke Shaw picked up two bookings in as many minutes.

The final ten minutes, plus five of stoppage time, were nonetheless safely navigated as England earned their first win away to the Azzurri since 1961.

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