The international football break is well underway, with several Euro 2024 qualifiers, including England’s against Italy, and Azerbaijan’s against Austria, already taking place.
Italy v England – and Harry Kane making history
England were facing arguably their toughest opponents in Group C, Italy, away in Naples on Thursday night. Goals by Declan Rice (13thminute) and Harry Kane (44th minute) drove the away side to a sweet 1-2 victory, placing them at the top of their group after the first round of matches.
Fellow Group C contenders, North Macedonia, beat Malta to go joint top with England.
Harry Kane’s goal against Italy from the penalty spot propelled him into the history books as the country’s all-time top goal scorer, with 54 goals in 81 appearances.
The England captain leap-frogged the previous top-scorer, Wayne Rooney, who ended his international career on 53 goals for England, and World Cup winner Bobby Charlton, who is third in the All-Time Top England Goal Scorers list with 49 goals.
Our history maker 😍
The stats behind @HKane‘s magnificent #ThreeLions achievement… pic.twitter.com/bSDy0HiebA
— England (@England) March 24, 2023
England v Ukraine
The next Euro game for Gareth Southgate’s men is a home tie at Wembley Stadium against Ukraine on Sunday, 26 March. Kick-off is at 5pm.
Ukraine boasts two stars who will be familiar to Premier League fans, Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko and Chelsea’s new £100m signing Mykhailo Mudryk.
The game is being televised live on Channel 4 and being streamed on All4.
Austria v Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan faced a tough opponent for their opening qualifying game of Euro 2024, up against a national side that is ranked 87 places higher than them by FIFA.
Austria (ranked 34) comfortably beat Azerbaijan (ranked 121) 4-1 at home in Linz to go joint top of Group F with Belgium.
The home team were powered to victory by two goals from midfielder Marcel Sabitzer, who is currently on loan to Manchester United, and a goal apiece from striker Michael Gregoritsch and playmaker Christoph Baumgartner – who was instrumental in Austria’s win
The only goal for Azerbaijan came from midfielder Emin Makhmudov in the 64th minute of the match, with the away team briefly threatening a comeback when the scores became 3-1. However, Baumgartner’s goal five minutes later restored Austria’s three goal cushion and put the game beyond their rivals.
Goal by Emin Mahmudov!! Mahmudov became Azerbaijan’s second top goalscorer with 10 goals after Gurban Gurbanov (14). #Neftchieffect pic.twitter.com/wASuqtuosK
— Fuad Alakbarov (@DrAlakbarov) March 24, 2023
Sweden v Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan next face Sweden away at the Friends Arena, Solna, on Monday, 27 March. The game kicks off at 7.45pm.
The central Asian side will fancy their chances against a Swedish side that was soundly beaten by Belgian 3-0 at home on Friday night.
Armenia v Turkiye
Turkiye will open its Euro 24 account with an away game to Yerevan on Saturday, 25 March. The game kicks off at 5pm.
The game will be shown live on TRT 1.
The rivals form part of Group C, which also includes World Cup semi-finalists Croatia, Latvia and Wales.
Also on Saturday is the Group C game Croatia versus Wales, which kicks off at 7.45pm.
Turkish team training in Yerevan ahead of Saturday’s game
2024 Avrupa Şampiyonası Elemeleri ilk maçında yarın saat 20.00’de Ermenistan ile karşı karşıya gelecek A Millî Takımımız, karşılaşmanın oynanacağı Republican Stadyumu’nda antrenman gerçekleştirdi. 🇹🇷 #OmuzOmuza #Euro2024 pic.twitter.com/eZCdwQKOpj
— Türkiye #BizimÇocuklar 🇹🇷 (@MilliTakimlar) March 24, 2023
Turkiye v Croatia
Three days later, Turkiye will play Croatia at the Bursa Büyükşehir Belediye Stadium in what is sure to be a key Group C tie. The game starts at 7.45pm.
The omens don’t look good though. Of their last five games playing each other, the Turks have never managed to beat Croatia, drawing twice and losing three times, and scoring only one goal while Croatia have put six past Turkiye.
The Northern Ireland team got their Euro 2024 campaign off to a winning start, beating San Marino 2-0 away from home on Thursday night.
They now host fellow Group H contender Finland on Sunday evening, 7.45pm kick-off. The Finnish team lost their opening game 3-1 against Denmark.
Slovenia and Kazakhstan make up the remaining two contenders in Group H.
Elsewhere, Scotland face games against South Cyprus (2pm, Saturday 25 March) and Spain (7.45pm Tuesday 28 March) in Group A as they make their bid for the Euros.
Their other Group A opponents are Georgia and Norway.
All match start times are UK times unless stated otherwise.