England beat Italy Thursday night in Naples to begin the 2024 Euro qualifiers. The Three Lions recorded their first victory in Italy since 1961. It was also the first loss by the hosts in the Euro qualifying process on home soil since 1999. Thursday’s matchup would be filled with plenty of talking points.
The visitors endured an early Italian onslaught inside the first 10 minutes of the match. Italy had some decent possession and opportunities inside this timeframe, but couldn’t put Jordan Pickford under pressure. West Ham midfielder Declan Rice would, however, capitalize on his early chance in the game.
England grab scrappy goal to get things started
Jude Bellingham had a great strike saved well by Gianluigi Donnarumma in the 12th minute of the match. The Paris Saint-Germain keeper was able to get his fingertips on the ball and send it over the crossbar. Nevertheless, Rice would score on the ensuing corner kick.
The midfielder latched on to a loose ball inside the box and fired a neat finish into the ground and passed Donnarumma. Harry Kane initially had the scoring opportunity, but his shot was blocked by an Italian defensemen. The ball then fell straight to Rice who wouldn’t miss from there.
England doubled their lead just a few minutes away from halftime. The visitors were awarded a penalty in the 43rd minute when Gionvanni Di Lorenzo handled the ball inside the box. Kane and the defender both attempted to contest a header, but the ball struck Di Lorenzo’s outstretched arm instead.
Kane eventually converted the spot kick to make it 2-0 in the match and also jumped passed Wayne Rooney as England’s highest ever scorer. The Tottenham Hotspur striker now has a record 54 career senior goals for the Three Lions.
Italy England Euro 2024 qualifiers features hosts fighting back in second half
The second half started much like the first. Italy dominated possession in the opening 10 minutes of the period. However, the hosts would actually score this time. Marco Verratti started the move by finding a wide open Lorenzo Pellegrini going towards England’s goal. The attacker smartly found Mateo Retegui near the box and the striker slotted passed a diving Pickford. It was the forward’s first goal in his debut for Italy.
While Italy fell off quite a bit after a strong start to the match, they stayed on top in the second half. The hosts completely flipped the possession statistic in the first 20 minutes of the final period. Following a resilient start to the half, Italy also had an extra man advantage as well. England full back Luke Shaw received two yellow cards within a three-minute span to get sent off in the 80th minute.
Despite the man advantage, Italy couldn’t quite break down the stingy England defense to level the scoreline. The match finished 2-1 to the visitors. Italy will try to bounce back in the qualifying process on Sunday when they travel to face Malta. England, on the other hand, are set to host Ukraine at Wembley on the same day.
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