- Harry Kane breaks Wayne Rooney’s international goal-scoring record and leads England to a crucial victory over Italy.
- Gareth Southgate praises Kane’s mental fortitude and character, which he believes contributed to his achievement.
- Despite a strong first-half performance, England conceded a goal in the second half and had a player sent off, but managed to grind out a result away from home.
In Thursday’s Euro 2024 qualifier match against Italy, Harry Kane scored his 54th international goal, surpassing Wayne Rooney’s record and securing a crucial win for England in Group C. Gareth Southgate commended Kane’s mental fortitude, citing it as a contributing factor to his achievement. Kane, who missed a penalty in England’s quarter-final loss to France at the World Cup in December, calmly converted from the penalty spot to lead his team to victory over the European champions. As England’s captain, Kane’s record-breaking goal was a significant moment in his career.
Southgate shared with reporters that Harry Kane’s breaking of the record, especially given recent events, was a testament to his character and mental fortitude, which he commended.
He expressed his happiness for Kane’s achievement, noting that it was an incredible feat to accomplish so quickly, with plenty of time left in his career.
After the game, the players gave Kane a warm reception, which Southgate believed was in response to his record-breaking goal and the adversity he had overcome. Despite a strong first-half performance from England, which included Kane’s goal, the team could have put the game beyond doubt had Jack Grealish not missed a clear opportunity from close range, after being set up by the Tottenham striker.
England managed to hold out for a 2-1 victory over Italy, despite debutant Mateo Retegui scoring a late goal for the hosts and Luke Shaw being sent off in the 80th minute for two quick yellow cards.
According to Southgate, England demonstrated two sides in the match, controlling the game in the first half and missing several opportunities to extend their lead.
However, they conceded a poor goal in the second half, leading to a change in the evening’s emotions. Southgate acknowledged the importance of grinding out a result away from home, but he would have preferred more of the first-half performance.
Italy coach Roberto Mancini was disappointed with his team’s poor first-half performance, which he believed cost them a chance at getting a result. He was, however, pleased with their second-half display, stating that they played like the real team, pressing and not allowing England to breathe.
Mancini also regretted the two goals his team conceded, which he felt could have been avoided. Despite the defeat, he highlighted the fact that his team did not concede a shot in the second half against England, who did not go down to 10 men until late in the game.