England are heading to Euro 2024 having qualified for next year’s tournament in Germany with two games to spare.
Fresh off being awarded the rights to host Euro 2028, The Three Lions celebrated in style by comfortably beating Italy 3-1 at Wembley Stadium thanks to a Harry Kane double and a scintillating Marcus Rashford finish.
England fell a goal down early thanks to a 15th-minute strike from Atalanta striker Gianluca Scamacca, his first goal for his country. But even after going behind, there was a sense of calm among the home side and that calm was rewarded with a composed performance.
Gareth Southgate will now have the luxury of experimenting with his squad in November as England look to finish the job in Group C as they take on Malta and North Macedonia.
If England are able to navigate those two games without issues, they’ll qualify for the European championships with an unbeaten record, including a 2-1 win against Italy in Naples.
England look to go one better before hosting Euro 2028
Despite a run of good form under Gareth Southgate, England are still looking for their first title triumph since Sir Alf Ramsey lifted the World Cup on home soil in 1966.
They lost the 2020 final in the cruelest of ways at Wembley Stadium thanks to a penalty shootout with Italy coming out on top 3-2 after the game finished 1-1 after extra time.
You can never fully exorcise those demons, but despatching Luciano Spalletti’s team so comfortably certainly won’t hurt their confidence heading into next year’s tournament.
It could be argued that with Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and a number of other world-class talents, England has their best squad in generations.
Although Bellingham has been lauded for his talent at Real Madrid following a fast start to his La Liga career, Marcus Rashford has been booed by his own fans. But the Marcus Rashford you see for England is a world apart from the Marcus Rashford you see at Manchester United.
But it’s the strength in depth that will have England fans excited.
Comfortably the better team last night, England was missing young forward Bukayo Saka and much improved left-back Luke Shaw through injury. And thanks to the talent on show, the likes of Jack Grealish, James Maddison and Trent Alexander-Arnold had to settle for a place on the bench.
As fans, we’ve seen this show before. Qualifying with ease only to stumble once we hit the knockout stages of tournament football.
But this England team is full of exuberant youth who welcome rather than shy away from the pressure, and the entertaining, open football has to be allowed to flow to get the best out of players like Bellingham.
With the added experience of players like Harry Kane, England seem to have the perfect mix to finally fulfill their potential. It’s likely that they’ll head to Euro 2024 as one of the title favorites.
Maybe, just maybe, it really is coming home … we’ll see.