England locked up a spot in Euro 2024 on Tuesday with a come-from-behind win over Italy. In a rematch of the Euro 2020 Final, England picked up its first win over Italy on English soil since the 1970s. Harry Kane scored a brace and Marcus Rashford scored as well to offset an early deficit.

The opening half-hour at Wembley brought a lively affair. The two sides traded yellow cards as Kalvin Phillips and Destiny Udogie traded clumsy fouls. Marcus Rashford was the first one to scare the goal as his free kick scared the outside of Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal.

It was Italy to have the first attempt on goal, and it led to the opening goal of the game in the 15th minute. After buildup play from the back, Giovanni Di Lorenzo squared a ball directly across the face of goal. Gianluca Scamacca waited in the middle of the box. When the ball reached him, he slammed it into the roof of the net. It was Scamacca’s first goal for Italy.

England would not wait long for its equalizer. Yet, it would require some controversy and help from VAR. Jude Bellingham raced to a loose ball toward the Italy net. Di Lorenzo slid in to knock the ball away. While there was no foul at first, VAR stepped in to award England a spot kick. Harry Kane, just like he did in Rome in the reverse fixture, slotted past Donnarumma in goal in the 32nd minute.

In first-half stoppage time, Jordan Pickford made a strong save to deny Udogie. Italy had a chance to slam in the rebound, but no one could get a true shot off. That was Pickford’s first save for England since the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

England scores twice in second half to see off Italy in Euro 2024 Qualifying

To start the second half, England had a penalty shout. Udogie took down Phil Foden in the penalty box. However, the referee and VAR deemed the contact was incidental, and Foden went down too easily. England did not earn a penalty after VAR provided England’s first goal.

Seven minutes later, England stormed forward after great play from Jude Bellingham. On the defensive end, the Real Madrid midfielder laid out a tackle to win the ball back for the Three Lions. After a clever pass from Phil Foden, Bellingham then dinked the ball forward for an odd-man rush for England. He slid it wide for Marcus Rashford. The Manchester United striker cut inside until he was just inside the penalty box, and he thumped a ball into the lower right corner.

England was lucky to escape a red card in the 65th minute. Kalvin Phillips had another clumsy challenge. However, the referee played advantage, and the center referee did not brandish a yellow card. England took advantage of its man advantage to put the game away in the 77th minute. An individual display of brilliance where Kane showed his speed allowed the Bayern Munich star a breakaway against Donnarumma. He comfortably slotted the ball away to give England a two-goal lead.

With the win, England secured a spot in the Euro 2024 competition proper, while Italy now sits third. Italy can still reach the tournament in the November international break. With a game in hand on Ukraine, Italy sits three points behind the Ukrainians. Italy has a home game against North Macedonia to draw level with Ukraine before the two play each other on the last day of qualifying. That could be a do-or-die game for both sides.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Colorsport