England’s 10 men valiantly held on to start their qualification campaign for UEFA Euro 2024 with a 2-1 over Italy, their first away victory against Gli Azzurri since 1961.
The same fixture that ended Euro 2020 started the qualification campaign for 2024, and the Three Lions scored an early goal again on this occasion.
When Harry Kane’s effort from Bukayo Saka’s corner was blocked, Declan Rice was quickest to react and instinctively finished, with the goal marking the West Ham United captain’s third international strike in just his 40th England cap.
That eventually arrived shortly after John Stones blocked an effort from Mateo Retegui, as the Three Lions were awarded a penalty, when Giovanni Di Lorenzo handled a corner delivery under pressure from Kane.
Gli Azzurri continued to apply waves of pressure as they searched for a leveller, and England’s task got even more difficult when Luke Shaw received two bookings in just three minutes, when he caught Retagui after being pulled up for time wasting.
Despite Wilfried Gnonto causing some nervous moments late on, prior to five minutes of added time, Gareth Southgate’s side got off to a successful start in what was expected to be their biggest test in Group C, making him only the third England manager to reach 50 wins.
Meanwhile, Italy haven’t got off to the start they wanted after missing out on a place in the last FIFA World Cup finals, losing a home Euros qualifier for the first time since 1999.