Marcus Rashford scored a brilliant second for England
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England have qualified for Euro 2024 with two games to spare after coming from behind to defeat Italy thanks to two goals from Harry Kane and a brilliant Marcus Rashford strike.
Former West Ham striker Gianluca Scamacca punished some slack England defending to fire Italy into an early lead, in what was a rematch of the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.
But England hit back as Kane converted a 32nd-minute penalty, which was won by Jude Bellingham following a bursting run into the Italy box.
And Bellingham was heavily involved again as he led an England counter-attack after the break, creating space for Rashford to slam a powerful strike into the corner.
Kane made sure of the victory with another breakaway goal late on – his 61st for England – and it means Gareth Southgate’s side can now begin their preparations for Germany next summer.
Here are how the England players rated at Wembley
Jordan Pickford, 7
The goalkeeper made some key stops with the match level in the first half, particularly from Destiny Udogie’s run shortly before the break. Italy were poor in the second half and Pickford was barely troubled from there.
Kyle Walker, 6
The experienced right back was assured and steady and barely let Stephan El Shaarway have a sniff.
John Stones, 6
The centre-back is still working his way up to full fitness but his class on the ball was apparent. Perhaps caught a yard short of Scamacca for Italy’s opening goal – but England were also second-best throughout the pitch at the time.
Harry Maguire, 6
There were spells in the first half where England needed to move it quicker and Maguire was left looking culpable with his ponderous style in possession. Italy certainly punished some slack defending with the opening goal, but Maguire also grew into the game and made some key blocks. Given the outside noise, this was a decent performance from the centre-back.
Maguire got a rare start after a difficult season at Manchester United
Kieran Trippier, 5
Seemed outnumbered at times with Domenico Berardi and Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s partnership on the Italian right, while he certainly doesn’t look as comfortable on the opposite side.
Kalvin Phillips, 4
Looked sluggish from the opening 10 minutes, where he was late to a couple of challenges and it resulted in an early yellow. There were big gaps in midfield, which were the areas Phillips was in the team to fill in his double-pivot with Rice, and he was perhaps fortunate not to be shown a second yellow after another mistimed challenge. Brought off for Jordan Henderson.
Phillips admitted he was lucky not to be sent off
Declan Rice, 6
It was rare to see Rice so exposed in midfield and there were a couple of moments where Italy were able to play around him – Italy’s Davide Frattesi and Nicolo Barella were certainly a handful – but it’s a measure of Rice’s authority that he soon got the situation under control.
Phil Foden, 8
Made some thrilling bursts from central positions and was also heavily involved in England’s brilliant second goal on the counter-attack. Perhaps still isn’t as threatening on the right wing as Bukayo Saka often is, but shows brilliant flashes of quality in those dangerous inside channels.
Jude Bellingham, 9
If there was only one England player who looked sharp in the sluggish opening half hour, it’s no surprise to say it was Bellingham. Helped bring England level with his burst into the box to win Kane’s penalty and then repeated the trick with a lovely flick and drive forward in the move that led to Rashford’s strike. England’s main man, at 20 years old, and his display received a standing ovation.
Marcus Rashford, 8
It’s amazing what a goal can do. Looked short of confidence in the first half, even as he almost forced a couple of openings in his battle with Di Lorenzo. But Bellingham’s break allowed Rashford to cut inside from the left and smash a brilliant strike past Gianluigi Donnarumma. It was a sudden flash of last season’s form.
Harry Kane, 9
Brought up his 60th England goal from the spot with a typically cool penalty. There were times early on where he looked a little more isolated up front than in previous appearances, but from there the quality link-up play with his fellow forwards flowed, with clever touches and booming switches to both Foden and Rashford. His second goal of the night, as he eased Alessandro Baston away and finished, simply oozed the class of an elite striker.
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