Harry Kane became England’s record international goalscorer as his side began their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign by defeating reigning champions Italy 2-1 in Group C on Thursday.
England’s skipper struck a penalty past Italy keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma shortly before half-time to make it 2-0 and take his tally to 54, one more than Wayne Rooney.
Midfielder Declan Rice had opened the scoring after 13 minutes as Gareth Southgate’s side dominated the first half.
Debutant striker Mateo Retegui halved the deficit in the 56th minute as Italy responded in an impressive fashion but England weathered the storm to secure a first win over Italy on Italian soil in 62 years despite having Luke Shaw sent off.
Although there will be concern at how England lost their way in the second half, it proved the perfect response after the heartache of losing to France in the World Cup quarter finals 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 claim another scoring record.
“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.”
Rooney, whose goals came in 120 games compared with the 81 it has taken Kane to move ahead of him, was quick to congratulate his former international teammate.
Cristiano Ronaldo tucked away a penalty and slammed home a free-kick as he set a record for the most international caps in Portugal’s 4-0 victory over Liechtenstein.
Ronaldo celebrated his 197th cap, surpassing Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa, with a double as he returned to the starting line-up for their Group J qualifier.
He converted a 51st-minute penalty—his first goal against the tiny Alpine principality — as the home side went 3-0 up and added the fourth with a trademark free-kick that bent back the hands of visiting goalkeeper Benjamin Buchel.
Joao Cancelo had put Portugal into an eighth-minute lead with a long-range half-volley that took a slight deflection through a crowd of players, but Portugal were frustrated by solid defending from the visitors.
Seventy seconds into the second half, however, Bernardo Silva picked up a loose ball after Cancelo’s progress to goal was halted and rifled home for a 2-0 lead.
Rasmus Hojlund netted a hat-trickasDenmarkbeatFinland 3-1 at the Parken Stadium and get their Group H qualifying campaign off to a winning start. The Danes lost defender Andreas Christensen to a leg injury in the 18th minute, but the home fans were celebrating three minutes later as Hojlund struck the opener.