Kane breaks record as England enjoy rare win over Italy
Harry Kane became England's record international goalscorer as his side began their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign by beating reigning champions Italy 2-1 in Group C on Thursday.
England's skipper struck a penalty past Italy keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma shortly before halftime to make it 2-0 after Declan Rice opened the scoring after 13 minutes.
Debutant Mateo Retegui halved the deficit in the 56th minute as the hosts dominated the second half but England secured a first win over Italy on Italian soil for 62 years despite having Luke Shaw sent off for receiving two yellow cards.
It proved to be the perfect response by England after the heartache of losing to France in the World Cup quarter-finals in December when Kane missed a crucial penalty.
This time he made no mistake after Giovanni Di Lorenzo was penalised for handball in the 42nd minute, finding the corner to take his England tally to 54, one more than Wayne Rooney.
Kane was also involved in England's opener as his blocked shot fell for Rice to convert to silence the majority of fans inside the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Italy, who beat England on penalties to win Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium but failed to qualify for the World Cup, were far more dangerous in the second half after Argentina-born Retegui smashed a low shot past Jordan Pickford.
England sank deeper and deeper as they appeared to run out of legs but Italy struggled to create clear chances and suffered a first Euro qualifying defeat in 41 games.
It was England's first competitive victory over Italy since 1977 and meant Gareth Southgate has racked up 50 wins as the national coach since taking the job in 2016.
But the night belonged to Kane.
"This means everything," Kane said. "So excited to get back out there and put the England shirt back on. And it had to be a penalty of course. Once it hit the back of the net there was so much emotion. Just huge thanks to the players, staff and fans."