England confirmed their qualification for Euro 2024 in Germany next summer after coming from behind to beat Italy at Wembley inspired by another Jude Bellingham masterclass.
Gareth Southgate’s side only needed a point to secure their place and it briefly looked like the celebrations may be delayed when former West Ham United striker Gianluca Scamacca gave Italy the lead from close range after 15 minutes.
Kane scored his 60th goal for his country after Bellingham ran through and was fouled by Giovanni di Lorenzo after 32 minutes.ALSO READ:Osimhen Makes FIFA Best Footballer Award Shortlist
And it was Bellingham’s surging run and pass that set up Marcus Rashford to cut inside and beat Italy keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma just before the hour before Kane extinguished any hopes of an Italy recovery when he raced clear to score England’s third with 13 minutes left.
The win was England’s first home victory over Italy since November 1977 and completed a double in the group after victory in Naples in March.
England are top of Group C with 16 points, while the defeat means Italy are third and will play Ukraine in their final qualifier in what will be a decisive match to determine who finishes second.
Bellingham’s performances for England and Real Madrid this season have fully justified all the superlatives aimed in his direction and this was another magnificent display from the youngster.
The midfielder was involved in everything, from being at the heart of most good things produced by England to even orchestrating the Wembley crowd when the atmosphere threatened to become subdued.
He is the real deal and already marked down as England’s superstar.
Bellingham’s relentless running and fierce determination was instrumental in England’s recovery from that early blow of conceding, with Italy unable to cope with his energy and creation.
His two bursting runs led to England’s first two goals, fully deserving the standing ovation he was afforded when he was substituted late on with the game won.
Bellingham also feeds off the growing adulation from England’s fans and he rightly lapped up their cheers after the final whistle.As England’s thoughts now turn to Germany next summer, manager Southgate will know he has a truly special talent at his disposal that will make him the envy of every other country in the tournament.
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze