Italy vs England LIVE: Result, final score and reaction as Three Lions triumph in Naples

·34 min read

England triumphed in Italy for the first time in 60 years as they defeated Italy in the opening match of the Euro 2024 quailfiers.

A few nervous opening minutes looked likely to set the tone for England as Italy attempted to assert some dominance on the game. Gareth Southgate’s men changed the momentum though through the opening goal just after the quarter-hour mark with Declan Rice turning home a rebound Harry Kane shot.

From there England controlled the first half and made some history when Harry Kane converted from the spot to move ahead of Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time leading goalscorer.

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The second half was a contrasting affair. Italy came out with aplomb and England were forced deep into their own half. The hosts created chance after chance with Roberto Mancini utilising the fresh legs of his substitutes. Mateo Retegui then netted on his Italy debut to bring the hosts back into the match.

Two yellows cards inside a minute for Luke Shaw saw the England left-back sent off with over 10 minutes to go but despite the increased pressure the Three Lions held onto their lead and claimed a famous victory over the European champions.

Relive all the action as Italy host England in a Euro 2024 qualifier:

Italy vs England

Italy 1 - 2 England

Why England’s resilient win in Italy was so significant

22:11 , Michael Jones

A night of historic landmarks in Naples, if also one that quickly went from the easiest of important victories to an immensely difficult test of character.

Harry Kane became England’s record scorer with his 54th international goal, to ensure the national team won in Italy for the first time since 1961, and also claimed their first qualifying win away to a major nation since Germany in 2001.

Any fanciful ideas that this 2-1 would instead be another 5-1 from the first half instead swiftly dissipated, as Italy belatedly displayed why they had the momentum to become defending champions themselves.

After a period when England had showcased all of their best strengths - especially through the brilliance of Jude Bellingham - Italy began to exploit weaknesses, especially at centre-half. Gareth Southgate’s side instead had to find different qualities, but that what was made it a statement for Euro 2024 in itself. Make no mistake, even if England inevitably made a few themselves. This was a seriously good win, as much because of how troubling the second half became.

They all looked relieved at the end, as Italy seemed so deflated.

Why England’s resilient win in Italy was so significant

Harry Kane’s best England stats

22:23 , Michael Jones

Harry Kane has scored in 18 of his last 19 qualifying appearances for major tournaments (World Cup/Euros).

He’s also England’s all-time leading scorer in European Championship qualifying matches (16 goals). He scored five goals in his first 11 England appearances and reached 10 goals in his 20th appearance.

Kane has scored twice as many goals in matches started as captain as any other player in England’s history, netting 46 goals in 56.

Harry Kane’s best England stats

22:20 , Michael Jones

Harry Kane’s most prolific year for England was in 2021, when he scored 16 goals in 16 appearances. That was the most goals ever scored by a Three Lions player in a calendar year.

He has netted 49 goals in 64 appearances under Gareth Southgate, the most by a player under a single manager in England’s history.

Only Jimmy Greaves (six) has scored more than the five hat-tricks Kane has netted for England. Kane has also scored more penalties than any other player in England’s history, netting 18 times from the spot.

Harry Kane’s five most crucial England goals

22:14 , Michael Jones

Harry Kane became England’s all-time leading goalscorer when he scored a penalty against Italy in Thursday night’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy.

Here are five of Kane’s most crucial international strikes after he usurped Wayne Rooney to take the crown:

5 of the best – Harry Kane’s most crucial England goals

FT Italy 1-2 England

22:08 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate is the third England manager to win 50 games after Sir Alf Ramsey and Walter Winterbottom.

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(REUTERS)

Harry Kane underscores his greatness in the face of constant whataboutery

22:05 , Michael Jones

Deep breath, a couple of steps on the spot, a short run-up and a sidefoot. And there it was: history for Harry Kane. Some 1271 men have played for the senior England team and the other 1270 have scored fewer goals than him. At a ground named after one of the greatest footballers, the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Kane demonstrated some of the reasons why he has become a great goalscorer.

A penalty was not just a penalty. It was an opportunity to relive the most traumatic moment of his career. A previous Tottenham favourite, Chris Waddle, never wanted to take spot kicks again after ballooning one in a World Cup, with costly consequences. Kane could have got the England record 103 days earlier except that, after drawing level with Wayne Rooney, he contrived to sky a second penalty. He has admitted it is likely to live with him for as long as he is around.

But there is a steel behind a seemingly guileless façade. Kane can seem uncomplicated, and maybe he is: penalties offer opportunities for more goals, so Kane takes them. Normally very well, too. And so, when Giovanni di Lorenzo was deemed to have handled, up he stepped. Gianluigi Donnarumma guessed wrong. Kane struck the side-netting. Fifty-four: it doesn’t seem an iconic number, because Wayne Rooney’s record of 53 only stood for a few years, because, for the best part of half a century, the target was Bobby Charlton’s 49. It probably won’t be an iconic number, either, because Kane is likely to set a rather higher target for his successors.

Harry Kane underscores his greatness in the face of constant whataboutery

FT Italy 1-2 England

22:02 , Michael Jones

Kane on Wayne Rooney paying tribute to him: “Big thanks. I was on the pitch when Wayne broke the record. I know what it meant to him and I was so proud of him.

“I remember when I gave him the boot for breaking the record he said he would be giving it back to me one day. A special man.”

FT Italy 1-2 England

21:59 , Michael Jones

Reaction from England’s all-time leading goalscorer, Harry Kane: “It means everything. I was so excited to put the England shirt on and get back out here and get the campaign started for next year’s Euros.

“It had to be a penalty and once it hit the back fo the net huge emotion. A magical moment.

“Pretty used to that now because a lot of penalties VAR check it. I just do what I do, I work hard in training, picked my spot and put it away.

“Just a great night, we haven’t won in Italy for so long. To score and win, so special.

The World Cup was a difficult way to end but we spoke this week about getting back to it. We are one of the best teams in Europe. Getting this win shows we are ready for the challenge.”

FT Italy 1-2 England

21:56 , Michael Jones

Harry Kane has the England men’s record for:

Goals scored (54)

Goals as captain (46)

Goals via penalties (18)

Goals in a single year (16 in 2021)

Goals in major tournaments (12)

FT Italy 1-2 England

21:53 , Michael Jones

Mateo Retegui, who plays for Tigre in Argentina, is the only player in the history of Italy’s men’s team to score his first goal for the nation while playing his club football outside of Europe.

FT Italy 1-2 England

21:52 , Michael Jones

Tonight’s resutls from the European qualifiers:

Group C

Italy 1-2 England

North Macedonia 2-1 Malta

Group H

Kazakhstan 1-2 Slovenia

Denmark 3-1 Finland

San Marino 0-2 Northern Ireland

Group J

Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-0 Iceland

Portugal 4-0 Liechtenstein

Slovakia 0-0 Luxembourg

FT Italy 1-2 England

21:44 , Michael Jones

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (PA)
(PA)

Full-time: Italy 1-2 England

21:41 , Michael Jones

90+5 mins: It was a nervous finish in Naples. England looked timid and anxious in the second half and didn’t react to Mateo Retegui’s goal.

Gareth Southgate’s old weakness of making changes too late came into play as Luke Shaw picked up a second yellow card meaning the Three Lions had to see out the game with 10-men.

They managed to pull it off though.

England win in Italy for the first time since 1961, Harry Kane’s record breaking penalty is the difference between the teams.

That is also Italy’s first defeat in 41 European qualifiers.

Italy 1-2 England

21:38 , Michael Jones

90+2 mins: This is nice from England. The fresh legs of Kieran Trippier and Conor Gallagher recover possession in midfield. The Three Lions run down the clock but there’s still three minutes or so to play.

Italy 1-2 England

21:36 , Michael Jones

90 mins: Kalvin Phillips then Harry Kane nod the ball away for England but Italy continue to pile on the pressure. Desperate needs require desperate measure now for England.

There’s five minutes of stoppage time to play. Every decision is going against England now.

Italy 1-2 England

21:34 , Michael Jones

89 mins: Gallagher goes with Di Lorenzo and turns the ball behind for a corner. Verratti is hooked off to get Gianluca Scamacca on. The big forward will be crucial for this set piece.

Italy swing it into the middle of the box but it comes off a white shirt and goes behind for a repeat set piece.

Italy 1-2 England

21:32 , Michael Jones

86 mins: Gallagher wins England a win free kick immediately and eases the pressure. The Three Lions are camped inside their own final third but Jordan Pickford belts the ball long to force Italy back inside their own half.

Italy 1-2 England

21:30 , Michael Jones

83 mins: Finally, an perhaps too late, Gareth Southgate makes changes.

Kieran Trippier is brought on to slot in at left-back with Phil Foden sacrificed. Conor Gallagher and Reece James are also introduced to replace Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham.

These last few minutes are going to be tense.

Red card! Shaw is sent off

21:26 , Michael Jones

Italy 1-2 England

80 mins: The pressure from the Italian players pays off as the referee pulls out another yellow card and sends off Luke Shaw! He got two yellows in less than a minute.

‘Unbelievable’ he says as he walks down the tunnel.

Italy 1-2 England

21:25 , Michael Jones

79 mins: Harry Maguire goes down inside the centre circle and Italy decide to play on. Luke Shaw then clumsily brings down Mateo Retegui.

All the Italians swarm the referee and demand that Shaw be sent off.

Italy 1-2 England

21:23 , Michael Jones

78 mins: The ball comes down the line and is collected by Gnonto on the left wing. He flicks the ball into the box and Shaw does just enough to head the ball past Politano who’s arriving at the back post.

Shaw is then booked for time-wasting. Three of England’s back four are now on yellow cards. Time for some changes Gareth?

Italy 1-2 England

21:21 , Michael Jones

75 mins: England look slightly panicked when Italy decide to run at their defence. Spinazzola and Gnonto both make runs towards Walker but Saka tracks back to help of and both men keep the ball out of the penalty area.

Italy 1-2 England

21:19 , Michael Jones

72 mins: Kane knows waht he’s doing when he takes possession of the ball over by the right wing. He leans into a tackle from Tonali and wins a free kick for England.

Less than 20 minutes of this qualifier to go. It will be a huge win if England can see it out.

Italy 1-2 England

21:15 , Michael Jones

69 mins: Gareth Southgate finally responds to Italy’s plethora of substitutions by bringing on Phil Foden to replace Jack Grealish. The England boss will be hoping Foden can help his team maintain more possession.

Italy 1-2 England

21:14 , Michael Jones

66 mins: Grealish is put under pressure from Politano trying to clear his lines and has to send the ball out for a corner.

Politano then swings the ball into the box but Stones is there to nod it up to Bellingham who wins a free kick and more importantly a respite for the Three Lions.

Italy 1-2 England

21:10 , Michael Jones

63 mins: Kalvin Phillips has now played more minutes for England tonight than he has done for Manchester City in the Premier League this season. That’s crazy and the midfielder is starting to look tired.

Italy still come at England. Jorginho tries to slip Retegui into the box but Maguire gets over and clears the danger.

Italy 1-2 England

21:07 , Michael Jones

60 mins: England need to get a grip of themselve. Italy have been the better team since the game restarted and that goal from Mateo Retegui - on debut no less - was a blinder.

The Three Lions need to get possession and keep the ball for a while. At the minute it’s all Italy.

Verratti takes a shot from just outside the box and has his effort blocked by John Stones.

GOAL! Italy 1-2 England (Retegui, 56’)⚽️

21:04 , Michael Jones

56 mins: Italy get one back! Nicolo Barella is tackled by Harry Maguire but not before offloading the ball to Verratti. Verratti sends it across to Pellegrini who slips a pass into the box.

Retegui is wide open in the vacant space left by Maguire. He touches the ball under control then slots it past Jordan Pickford!

Italy 0-2 England

21:02 , Michael Jones

54 mins: There’s more frustration on show from Italy’s young forward Mateo Retegui. He blasts one at goal from around 35-yards and watches as his shot rises over the crossbar.

Italy 0-2 England

20:57 , Michael Jones

51 mins: Kane is fine, he was just winded a bit.

Italy are turning the heat up here. Marco Verratti brings the ball to the edge of England penalty area and slips a lovely pass across to Lorenzo Pellegrini.

Kyle Walker does enough to force the forward wide and his effort sails past the near post.

Italy 0-2 England

20:53 , Michael Jones

48 mins: Italy win a corner early in the second half. Domenico Berardi swongs the set piece into the six-yard box and Jordan Pickford flaps it behind for a second attempt.

Lorenzo Pellegrini takes the next one and Harry Kane clears it but goes down in pain after turning the ball behind.

Second half: Italy 0-2 England

20:51 , Michael Jones

England kick off the second half. Gareth Southgate will have had an easy half-time team talk, more of the same please lads.

HT Italy 0-2 England

20:46 , Michael Jones

Harry Kane has scored his 54th goal for England surpassing Wayne Rooney to become the all-time top scoring player for the nation.

HT Italy 0-2 England

20:38 , Michael Jones

Harry Kane becomes England’s all-time top scorer after penalty in Naples

Harry Kane has become England’s all-time leading top scorer after scoring a penalty against Italy in Naples.

The Tottenham striker scored his 54th goal for his country, surpassing Wayne Rooney as the outright record holder. He had drawn level with Rooney during the World Cup in Qatar.

The 29-year-old made his senior England debut under Roy Hodgson in March 2015, scoring his first international goal against Lithuania in a 4-0 win. His first two-goal performance for his country came against France in June 2017.

Appointed England captain by Gareth Southgate ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Kane celebrated with a hat-trick against Panama, becoming only the third male England player to score thrice in a World Cup match after Geoff Hurst and Gary Lineker.

The centre forward finished the tournament as the top scorer, winning the Golden Boot and matching Lineker’s achievement from 1986.

Harry Kane becomes England’s all-time top scorer after penalty in Naples

Half-time: Italy 0-2 England

20:34 , Michael Jones

45+3 mins: Close! Jack Grealish comes close to giving England a third but his shot from a tight angle flies wide of the far post.

The whistle goes to signal half-time.

If you’d have offered Gareth Southgate a two goal lead at half-time before kick off he would have snatched your hand off in acceptance.

Englan have been brilliant in that 45 minutes. They just need to keep it up.

Italy 0-2 England

20:32 , Michael Jones

45 mins: Three minutes of added time to play at the end of the first half. So far so good for England.

GOAL! Italy 0-2 England (Kane, 44’)⚽️

20:30 , Michael Jones

44 mins: Bang! Harry Kane slots it to the goalkeeper’s left as Gianluigi Donnarumma dives the opposite way. Kane now stands alone as England’s leading goalscorer.

That was a resolute penalty and Kane goes wild after it hits the back of the net. England also lead 2-0.

Penalty to England!

20:29 , Michael Jones

Italy 0-1 England

42 mins: The referee takes his time looking at the replays and overturns his own decision. Harry Kane will have the chance to double England’s lead and banish the memories of his penalty miss against France in the World Cup.

That was 103 days ago. Can he score this one?

Italy 0-1 England

20:28 , Michael Jones

40 mins: There’s a penalty check going on now. Bukayo Saka swings a corner ball over to the back post where Harry Kane and Giovanni Di Lorenzo compete for the ball.

It strikes Di Lorenzo on the arm and Kane is adamant that this should be a penalty.

VAR has called the referee over to the pitchside monitor.

Italy 0-1 England

20:25 , Michael Jones

39 mins: Good from Italy! They recover the ball and give it to Barella who slides Retegui into the left side of the box. Stones holds his ground and blocks the shot when it comes in.

Italy 0-1 England

20:24 , Michael Jones

36 mins: England are trying to maintain possession and draw Italy out of position. No joy for them yet.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Italy 0-1 England

20:19 , Michael Jones

33 mins: Barella slots a pass over to the left wing and find Spinazzola bombing down the line. The left-back sends a cross into the England box but Declan Rice is on hand to control the ball and work it away.

This is a decent period for Italy but they’re not creating many chances in England’s final third.

Italy 0-1 England

20:16 , Michael Jones

30 mins: Declan Rice goes in the book for taking too long to restart the game after England win a free kick. That’s an unbelievably harsh booking and the referee may have been influenced by all the Italian complaints.

Italy 0-1 England

20:14 , Michael Jones

27 mins: There’s a lot of frustration coming from the Italians. They’re finding it difficult to control the game in midfielde and Nicolo Barella is punished for a foul on Jude Bellingham.

Italy 0-1 England

20:12 , Michael Jones

24 mins: England have grown nicely into the game now. Harry Maguire pushes out of his position and nicks possession when a through ball comes up to Mateo Retegui.

Retegui sticks a leg out and clips Maguire gifting England a free kick.

Italy 0-1 England

20:08 , Michael Jones

21 mins: Grealish is taken down by Di Lorenzo and there’s another chance for Luke Shaw to deliver one into the box. This free kick is right over by the touch line and Shaw’s delivery is comfortable headed clear by the home side.

Italy 0-1 England

20:06 , Michael Jones

19 mins: Nearly! Jude Bellingham once again takes control in the middle of the pitch for England. He wins the ball and drives through the middle.

Jack Grealish is an option on the left side of the box but Bellingham knocks it forward for Bukayo Saka’s run. Saka brings the ball into the penalty area but sees his pass intercepted when he tries to find Grealish.

Italy 0-1 England

20:03 , Michael Jones

16 mins: That’s just the start that England and Gareth Southgate would have wanted. The opening few minutes looked ropey for the Three Lions but they’ve been strong from set pieces and have got their noses in front.

Luke Shaw goes beyond Jack Grealish on the left wing and curls a cross into the middle but he can’t find a teammate and Italy take over.

GOAL! Italy 0-1 England (Rice, 13’)⚽️

20:00 , Michael Jones

13 mins: England strike first! Some individual brilliance from Jude Bellingham sees his shot palmed behind by Gianluigi Donnarumma for another corner.

Bukayo Saka’s delivery drops for Harry Kane who takes a touch then has a shot of his own blocked. The rebound comes over to Declan Rice who wraps a right foot around the ball and smokes England ahead!

FA bans England fan pictured mocking Diego Maradona’s death before Italy match in Naples

19:58 , Michael Jones

The Football Association has ripped up the ticket of an England fan who carried a flag to Naples which mocked the death of Diego Maradona.

A photo circulated on social media on Friday of the supporter apparently travelling to England’s Euro 2024 qualifier with Italy. In the image the man is holding an England flag which bears the message: “Diego’s In A Box”.

FA bans England fan pictured mocking Maradona’s death before Italy match

Italy 0-0 England

19:57 , Michael Jones

11 mins: England’s first corner comes from a free kick. Luke Shaw curls the set piece into the far side of the box where Harry Maguire wins the header.

He nods it towards Harry Kane but Rafael Toloi turns it out of play first.

Bukayo Saka then swings in the corner kick and Italy are awarded a free kick for a foul on the goalkeeper.

Italy 0-0 England

19:54 , Michael Jones

8 mins: Better from England! They win the ball high up the pitch through Jude Bellingham and the ball squirts out into the path of Bukayo Saka.

Saka dribbles into the box and shoots with his weaker foot. The effort isn’t the most powerful and Gianluigi Donnarumma drops low to keep it out.

Italy 0-0 England

19:52 , Michael Jones

6 mins: England have not settled at all. Kalvin Phillips takes too long on the ball and has his pocket picked.

Bukayo Saka manages to take it back but he’s charged down by Lorenzo Pellegrini who touches the ball to the byline and pulls a pass back into the middle of the box.

Luckily John Stones is covering well and turns the ball behind for a corner. The set piece then comes to nothing.

Italy 0-0 England

19:50 , Michael Jones

4 mins: Close! An early free kick for Italy is swung into the box by Lorenzo Pellegrini who picks out defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo. He looks to shoot on the volley but misses the ball and it bounces out of play after hitting his standing leg.

That could have been a dangerous one for England.

Italy 0-0 England

19:48 , Michael Jones

3 mins: Leonardo Spinazzola dinks the ball around Kyle Walker who lunged into a tackle and missed the ball. The Italian left-back drives towards the box but gets crowded out by a swarm of white shirts.

He attempts to slip a pass into the box but gives it to Harry Maguire who calmly completes the clearance.

Kick off: Italy 0-0 England

19:46 , Michael Jones

Italy get the match underway in Naples. A long ball up the pitch is won by Declan Rice but he gives it away with a wayward pass into midfield.

Italy vs England

19:41 , Michael Jones

After a lightshow for the fans inside the stadium, the teams head out of the tunnel. The national anthems are sung and the players are ready to go.

Kick off is up next.

Italy vs England

19:38 , Michael Jones

There’s a light show on display before the players head out onto the pitch. Although there are a few empty seats inside the stadium the atmosphere is electric and this is set to be a brilliantly testing game.

Jack Grealish’s bid for another bucket list tick heads for Naples after New York

19:35 , Michael Jones

Home Alone superfan Jack Grealish got to tick off a bucket list item just before Christmas by following in the footsteps of Kevin McCallister around New York.

Now the Manchester City star has his sights sets on fulfilling an even bigger wish as England get their quest for European Championship glory under way.

Grealish became a fan favourite as Gareth Southgate’s side made it to the Euros final at Wembley two years ago, only to suffer an agonising penalty shoot-out defeat under the arch.

A trip to Euro 2020 final foes Italy lies in store as they kick-off qualification for the next edition on Thursday – England’s first match since their heart-breaking World Cup quarter-final loss to France.

Jack Grealish’s bid for another bucket list tick heads for Naples after New York

England ‘close’ to being successful

19:30 , Michael Jones

Former England captain Steven Gerrard has been speaking on Channel 4 about how close Gareth Southgate’s team have come to being successful.

He said: “This group with this manager and coaching staff are still close to being successful. Gareth [Southgate] said earlier in the week that we just need to go and show we can beat this type of team.”

Warm-ups underway

19:30 , Michael Jones

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)
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(REUTERS)
 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

50 up for Southgate?

19:25 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate has won 49 of his 81 games in charge of England (D18, L14) and could become only the third manager to win 50 games after Sir Alf Ramsey and Walter Winterbottom.

Ramsey reached the total in 79 games, while Winterbottom took 82 games.

Gareth Southgate gives verdict on England future

19:20 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate has left open the possibility of another campaign past Euro 2024, as he refused to confirm this was his last tournament as England manager.

Southgate’s mood after the World Cup quarter-final elimination to France brought him to the brink of quitting, and the abrupt decision to stay naturally created the perception that this would be his last tilt at a trophy. Such questions naturally framed England’s first qualifier back, away to Italy in Naples, but Southgate actively evaded giving such answers.

“Let’s hope we’ve got that opportunity to make that decision,” he eventually joked, after it was directly put to him whether this will be the last tournament.”

Gareth Southgate gives verdict on England future

Remembering Vialli

19:15 , Michael Jones

Italy will wear a special message on their shirts for Gianluca Vialli, a member of Roberto Mancini’s coaching staff, who died at the age of 58 in January following a battle with cancer.

“[It will be] very emotional,” said the Italy manager, “It’s the first time we have played a game since Luca’s passing. We were very fortunate enough to have him as a teammate and a player.

“He is immortal and people like that will always be near to us.”

Southgate excited to play in Naples

19:10 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate played down the issue of potential hooliganism in Naples tonight saying he was "excited" to travel to the city.

"I have never been to Naples before and the history of football here is really rich," he said. "I am excited about playing in a city that loves football, with a great history.

"I can just about remember [Diego] Maradona when they [Napoli] won the league.

"Always we ask our fans to be good tourists and respect the local culture and we hope the game and the next couple of days passes with no problems."

Will Harry Kane break the English record?

19:05 , Michael Jones

Harry Kane is one goal away from becoming England’s leading goalscorer. He currently shares the honour with Wayne Rooney but can go clear of the former Manchester United striker if he scores in Naples.

Here’s how he currently sits in the standings:

  • Wayne Rooney - 53 goals

  • Harry Kane - 53 goals

  • Sir Bobby Charlton - 49 goals

  • Gary Lineker - 48 goals

  • Jimmy Greaves - 44 goals

Italy starting line-up

19:04 , Michael Jones

Italy XI: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Acerbi, Toloi, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Berardi, Retegui, Pellegrini

Can Harry Kane banish bad World Cup memories?

19:00 , Michael Jones

Harry Kane will make his first England appearance since the World Cup quarter-final defeat to France, a rare low point in a stellar career for Tottenham and his country.

The 29 year old is currently level with Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time leading goalscorer.

“I haven’t really felt the need to pick the phone up since the World Cup,” said Southgate. “It [his recovery] is there in his performances for Spurs.

“Sometimes you can busy yourself and look for a pat on the back by getting in touch with a player but I can’t take any credit for what he’s done.

“What I’ve observed is a player still super-confident, still ready to perform, still hungry to score goals. He’s obviously gone through the personal landmark with Spurs and then there’s this one that he’s going to nail with us at some point.”

Declan Rice hits back at Graeme Souness criticism: ‘It’s harsh’

18:55 , Michael Jones

Declan Rice has said Graeme Souness‘ criticism of his game is “harsh” because he “doesn’t watch West Ham every week”, as the England midfielder insisted he generally takes pundit scrutiny on board to improve his game.

The 24-year-old illustrated this by noting the balance in the opinions Roy Keane has offered. Both Sky Sports pundits have scrutinised Rice’s game of late, pointing to how he is superb at winning the ball, but is lacking in the two other main attributes of passing and scoring goals.

“It’s harsh,” Rice said. “I think it’s harsh because Souness doesn’t watch West Ham every week.

“There’s loads of West Ham fans, 60,000 go every week, and see what I do. So I think to say I’m only good at one of three is harsh but Souness was a top midfielder, a top player and when someone like him speaks you have to sometimes listen and take on board where you can improve if that’s true. And obviously Roy as well.”

Declan Rice hits back at Graeme Souness criticism: ‘It’s harsh’

Southgate assured fan unrest unlikely

18:50 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate insists the Football Association has had assurances over fan safety ahead of England’s trip to Europe’s football hooligan hotspot, Naples.

FA chiefs have tried to allay fears by insisting the England game will not be classed as high risk as Napoli fans have a tradition of not following the Italian national team.

Many regular England fans are taking day trips to avoid trouble and are concerned about a potential flashpoint in the city that was chosen ahead of Milan and Rome, which were considered the more likely venues.

England boss Southgate said: “In the end, it’s for the Italian FA to decide where they play their games. Clearly, our organisation will always try to make the travelling experience as smooth as possible for our fans and that’s important.”

As England begin their next phase, Gareth Southgate enters his defining chapter

18:45 , Michael Jones

If some England players have found it a little odd to suddenly go back to international football after the most intense three months since the World Cup, it hasn’t been like that for Gareth Southgate.

This is the message he’s been drilling into the squad in a “reset meeting” before the team landed in Naples, and he has been encouraged by the “enthusiasm” shown since. This is what it might all be building up to.

Given that the manager almost quit after Qatar, the natural expectation is that this will be his last campaign, and that final opportunity at a first trophy since 1966.

Southgate himself almost made a point of refusing to confirm that but many around him have already sensed a different mood, as it feels like that he is taking every decision for now. The answer when asked if this was the “big one” or the “last one” was telling.

“Well, it’s the next one.”

As England begin their next phase, Gareth Southgate enters his defining chapter

HT Italy 0-2 England

20:37 , Michael Jones

Here’s the moment Harry Kane become England’s all-time leading goalscorer:

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)
 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)
 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

European qualifying talking points

18:40 , Michael Jones

Concerns over supporter safety

A friendly game between England and Italy supporters was cancelled earlier this week amid security concerns.

England men’s supporters’ team boss Garford Beck said he received a “very sinister and threatening” email purporting to be from “Napoli ultras”.

The Italian Football Federation has now informed Beck the game has been cancelled after representations were made with them by the English Football Association.

There were clashes between Napoli and Eintracht Frankfurt fans before and after their Champions League tie last week, but Southgate said he has no safety concerns as around 2,500 away fans are anticipated in Naples.

England team changes

18:38 , Michael Jones

England manager Gareth Southgate makes two changes to the team that lost out to France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup last year.

Phil Foden and Jordan Henderson drop out with Kalvin Phillips and Jack Grealish starting in Naples.

England line-up

18:34 , Michael Jones

England XI: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw, Rice, Phillips, Bellingham, Saka, Kane, Grealish

European qualifying talking points

18:30 , Michael Jones

Shaw vs Chilwell

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw was the only recognised left-back in England’s World Cup squad in Qatar. He has shone for his country in recent years, including opening the scoring in the Euro 2020 final loss, with Southgate’s only other options coming from elsewhere on the pitch as square pegs.

Now, though, he has legitimate competition in the shape of fit-again Ben Chilwell.

The Chelsea defender missed the World Cup through injury but is now in fine form for his club, giving Southgate yet another positive selection headache.

European qualifier talking points

18:25 , Michael Jones

Kane able to break another record

Skipper Harry Kane drew level with Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time leading goalscorer when he scored his first penalty against France in the World Cup quarter-final loss.

He then missed another spot-kick to move clear on 54 goals, with Southgate’s side crashing out to the beaten finalists. Since then, Kane has become Tottenham’s record marksman and will be aiming to find the back of the net in Naples to take the England accolade, too.

European qualifying talking points

18:20 , Michael Jones

Italy targeting victory for Vialli

The visit of England will be Italy’s first game since former striker and coach Gianluca Vialli died in January. The 58-year-old earned 59 senior caps and worked as an assistant to Roberto Mancini as the Azzurri lifted the European Championship trophy at Wembley in 2021.

Mancini has already said he wants to win the game as a tribute to his friend and colleague, while Italy will wear special one-off shirts for the occasion.

European qualifying talking points

18:10 , Michael Jones

The next Southgate cycle

Speculation was rife that Gareth Southgate would step down after England’s World Cup quarter-final exit in December. But, after some soul-searching, the manager opted to remain in place and is focused on leading England to a first major honour since 1966.

A slow start to these qualifiers could see pressure ramp up on the 52-year-old as he aims for the three points to take him to a half-century of wins at the helm.

Ben Chilwell looking forward to Luke Shaw battle after England return

18:05 , Michael Jones

England defender Ben Chilwell insists he is mentally stronger after returning from an injury which forced him to miss the World Cup.

The Chelsea left-back tore a hamstring just a couple of weeks before the tournament and missed out on going to Qatar.

However, having regained fitness, he has been recalled by manager Gareth Southgate and the 26-year-old is determined to take positives from the experience.

“Of course mentally it is very challenging,” he told a press conference. “All footballers go through periods of their career when things are mentally challenging and you have to be resilient, be strong, go through it and come through the other side stronger.

“That’s the way I’ve tried to look at things like the injuries I’ve had and missing the World Cup.”

Ben Chilwell looking forward to Luke Shaw battle after England return

Italy vs England prediction

18:00 , Michael Jones

England have not beaten Italy in Italy for over 60 years so it’s an uphill task for Gareth Southgate’s men.

Roberto Mancini’s European champions lost 2-0 to Austria last time out and with England’s front line all in terrific form the Three Lions could cause an upset and get their qualifying campaign of to a great start.

More realistically, this will be a tense and cagey affair in a hostile environment for England and they’ll do well to avoid defeat.

Italy 1-1 England.

Italy vs England predicted line-ups

17:55 , Michael Jones

Italy XI: Donnarumma; Scalvini, Bonucci, Acerbi; Di Lorenzo, Barella, Verratti, DiMarco; Politano, Berardi, Grifo

England XI: Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Bellingham, Henderson; Saka, Kane, Foden

What is the team news?

17:50 , Michael Jones

Roberto Mancini included three uncapped players in a 30-man squad for these opening Euro 2024 qualifiers. Lecce goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone, Torino defender Alessandro Buongiorno and Atletico Tigre striker Mateo Retegui were all named in the national squad for the first time. Ciro Immobile is out injured while Napoli’s Giacomo Raspadori and Gianluca Scamacca of West Ham United have lacked playing time, with Mancini opting for Scamacca over Raspadori.

Marcus Rashford, Mason Mount and Nick Pope have withdrawn from the England squad due to injuries, while there were some notable omissions when Southgate’s group was announced last week. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Callum Wilson and Ben White weren’t included but there are spots for Kalvin Phillips and Ivan Toney. Raheem Sterling is injured.

How to watch Italy vs England

17:45 , Michael Jones

Italy host England at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples in the opening match of the Euro 2024 qualifiers with kick off at 7.45pm.

The match is being broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK with coverage starting from 7pm.

Italy vs England

16:06 , Michael Jones

Good evening and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of tonight’s European qualifier between Italy and England in Naples. The route to Euro 2024 begins tonight with a repeat of the Euro 2020 final that Italy won via a penalty shootout.

Both teams are in Group C alongside Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta. The top two from each group will qualify for the final tournament set to take place in Germany next summer.

Tonight’s match is being hosted at Napoli’s Diego Armando Maradona Stadium and England have their work cut out. They have not won in Italy since a friendly in Rome in 1961 - over 60 years ago.

The Three Lions have also failed to beat the Italians in each of the last six meetings, a run which goes back over a decade. Will tonight be the night that England finally get one over their old rivals?