Big congratulations to Declan who scored the first goal of the match against Italy – his third as a Three Lions player – as England won their UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a 2-1 Group C win in Italy.
The Hammers skipper scored an opportunist goal with a left-footed shot after 13 minutes at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples, after Harry Kane’s initial shot had been blocked.
Dec may have been fortunate later with what appeared to be a studs up challenge but remained on the pitch!
England were dominant in the first half but the Italians hit back and we lost Luke Shaw to took bookable offences in less than 60 seconds before recording our first win in 62 years.
Italy manager Roberto Mancini sent onGianluca Scamacca as a late substitute but the Hammers striker had little time to make an impact or find an added-time equaliser.
For Rice, it was his third goal on his 40th appearance for England, while Scamacca was earning his tenth cap for Italy.
England’s win avenged their penalty shootout defeat in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley and takes them top of Group C alongside North Macedonia, who defeated Malta 2-1.
The fifth country in the group, Ukraine, will visit London on Sunday for England’s second of eight qualifiers ahead of next summer’s tournament in Germany. Italy make the short trip to Malta on the same evening.
Declan was immense. He controlled the midfield well and always seemed to be the man who came to the rescue in defence. I thought he was indeed man of the match. I think the price of Rice just soared way higher than inflation!
It was a great win last night in Italy with a typical performance from Declan. Declan is a one-off as a player and as sad as it is, he will be leaving this summer as we are all aware. There cannot be a top club in this country which wouldn’t want Declan in their team. Although there haven’t been any official enquiries for his services, I don’t believe for one second that this is an accurate reflection of the interest in him, as he is the Real Deal and a player that you build a team around.
The elephant in the room and the conductor of the whole affair last night was that corrupt Referee Srdjan Jovanovic. His performance was totally biased and you could sense him looking for any opportunity to penalise England and thereby giving Italy the upper hand. He was the obstacle to possibly an even more flattering win last night.