Cristiano and Harry Kane set a record pace in the first step to the Eurocup

England takes revenge against Italy and Portugal lives a happy debut for Roberto Martínez

The center-back of Barça Christensen, injured with Denmark


England took their particular revenge from the final of the last Euro Cup with a victory (1-2) this Thursday against Italy at the Diego Armando Maradona, where Harry Kane became the top scorer in the history of his team, while Portugal thrashed Liechtenstein (4-0) in Lisbon thanks in part to a double by Cristiano Ronaldo who reached 197 caps for Portugal, the footballer with the most caps.

The start of the qualifying phase for Euro 2024 had two proper names. The group led by Gareth Southgate imposed a game model from the beginning that did not take long to bear fruit. In just ten minutes, the English team took advantage of a defensive error by the Italians to strike first. Rice shot Donnarumma inside the box after chasing a rebound after Kane’s shot at the far post bounced off.

From then on, the visiting dominance became clear with direct football that found a headache for the local defense in the boots of Grealish and Saka. Thus, with the first half coming to an end, another defensive failure, this time in the form of a handball in the area, once again condemned Mancini’s team. Harry Kane scored from a penalty, after decreeing the VAR that Di Lorenzo had been handed, thus becoming England’s all-time top scorer with 54 goals, surpassing Wayne Rooney.

Already in the second part the script changed completely in favor of an Italian team with clear ideas. Thus, Retegui closed the gap at 55 ‘after a quick combination between Jorginho and Pellegrini, who found the Italian striker in the area, from where he did not fail against Pickford. In the end, the impetus of an Italy focused on their rival field, with one less England due to two quick yellow cards for Shaw, was not enough to tie a clash that the three lions knew how to control perfectly.

The reissue of the last European final leaves England as the leader of Group C, although tied with a North Macedonia that also beat Malta 2-1.

For its part, Portugal did not give options to a poor Liechtenstein who was not a match for a Portuguese team that took the roller for a walk. Cristiano Ronaldo, with a double, claimed his role in a team he was about to leave after his substitution in the World Cup and surpassed the record that Bader Al-Mutawa had with Kuwait. The arrival of Spanish coach Roberto Martínez, who made his debut at the helm of the Portuguese team, was a breath of fresh air for a team that once again showed the best version of himself.

Thus, the Portuguese team dominated from the beginning a Liechtenstein unable to stop the onslaught of the locals. In fact, before the 10th minute had elapsed, Joao Cancelo found the prize of the goal after a corner kick that nobody managed to finish off. The Bayern Munich full-back hooked a rebound on the edge of the area that, after passing through a tangle of footballers, beat the goalkeeper through the center of the goal.

Although the rest of the first part was a siege by Roberto Martínez’s men, it was necessary to wait until the second to continue with the goalscoring festival for the locals. Bernardo Silva sent another rebound inside the area, in the first play after the break, and shortly after the reborn Cristiano Ronaldo debuted his scoring account from a penalty after bringing down Cancelo inside the area.

Good minutes from the Portuguese captain who endorsed his great night at 62′ with a direct free kick to the squad with which he cleared the cobwebs from the net to put the final 4-0. From then on, although the siege was constant, Bücher’s good work under the sticks was enough to hold down a Liechtenstein team that also knew how to defend itself tooth and nail in the final moments to avoid a bigger rout.

Martínez’s men lead Group J, although Bosnia also added the three points with a win (3-0) over Iceland, with goals from Krunic, two, and Dedic. In the other group game, Slovakia and Luxembourg drew 0-0.

Meanwhile, in Group H, Denmark took the lead thanks to the hat-trick, their first three senior goals, by Hojlund against Finland (3-1). The match left the injury in the first minutes of the Danish central defender of FC Barcelona Andreas Christensen, who asked for the change with pain in the area of ​​the left calf.


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