Harry Kane Becomes England's All-Time Top Goalscorer As Three Lions Win In Italy

England beat Italy 2-1 in Naples as Luke Shaw was sent off
21:48, 23 Mar 2023

With a penalty for England in their 2-1 win over Italy, Harry Kane became England’s record goalscorer. That moment, which came just before half-time, seemed like the perfect way for him to break it. 

103 days since he missed that crucial spot-kick in England’s World Cup quarter-final against France, Kane stepped up from 12 yards again. This time he went to the goalkeeper’s right and found the back of the net. The relief was etched upon his face as the rest of the team celebrated just as much did. 

England have a handy knack of producing world class strikers. Lineker. Shearer. Rooney. But none of them have done what Kane has done in an England shirt. He is a level above for his country and has now been at the top of his game for eight years for his country. 

He once again put in a sensational display as England dominated against Italy in a ferocious first half. His hold up play was superb and he brought the likes of Jude Bellginham and Bukayo Saka into play as the Italians struggled to deal with Gareth Southgate’s men. 

History wasn’t on their side either. They hadn’t won away against Italy since 1961 and Roberto Mancini’s men had won their last 14 Euros qualifiers. But this England team is maturing - and away wins against major nations in a qualifier have been few and far between. 

Their last success against a footballing powerhouse came in 2008 when a teenage Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick against Croatia. Before that, it was the 5-1 win over Germany in Munich. 

The first half was a remarkable showing of dominance for England as Declan Rice bagged the opener. Bukayo Saka’s corner found Kane unmarked and although his shot was blocked, it fell to the West Ham man who swept home. There were fireworks and a light show before the game but England had rained on the parade in Naples. 

Bellingham, on a record-breaking night of his own as he broke Wayne Rooney’s record of 18 competitive England appearances as a teenager, was superb in that first period. Along with Rice, the pair overpowered Italy's midfield. England’s penalty came when Giovanni Di Lorenzo handled in his own box and the captain stepped up to grasp his record-breaking moment. 

Saka, Kalvin Phillips and Kane then combined wonderfully to set the ball up for Grealish who should have made it three but just couldn’t apply the finishing touch on a superb move. At half-time, England were utterly dominant but Mancini’s men were always going to come out fighting. 

They did exactly that and Mateo Retegui on his first cap for Italy got his first goal after Maguire had committed a foul and the referee played on to the host’s advantage. Retegui found a huge amount of space and slotted past Jordan Pickford to lift the Italians hopes. 

Then two yellow cards for Luke Shaw in the space of 54 seconds put England’s back against the wall with ten to go. The first was for time-wasting from a card happy ref and then he made a silly foul to put England under serious pressure. 

Substitute Phil Foden was then sacrificed, Reece James and Conor Gallagher came on and Jude Bellingham limped off. These were fresh legs for a rearguard action and it paid off as Southgate bagged his 50th win as England manager. 

This was a game in which England needed to show two very different sides. The first half was packed full of flowing football and dominance while the second showed a resolute defensive performance and remarkable team spirit when down to ten men. 

England have won in Italy for the first time since 1961 to make the perfect start to their qualifying campaign. And Harry Kane is their greatest ever goalscorer.

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