England became the ninth team to book a place at next year’s European Championship after beating Italy 3-1 at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, two years on from losing the final to the Italians at the same venue.
Denmark and Hungary also could have qualified Tuesday but both must wait until the next qualifying games in November. And tiny San Marino briefly looked on track for a historic draw in its narrow loss to the Danes.
Italy took the lead with a goal for Gianluca Scamacca — his first for his country — but England turned the game around with two goals from captain Harry Kane and one from Marcus Rashford.
England joins host nation Germany and previously qualified Austria, Belgium, France, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Turkey at next year’s 24-team tournament.
Defeat to England deepened the gloom around the Italian team amid a scandal around players’ alleged involvement in an illegal betting ring. Premier League midfielders Sandro Tonali and Nicolò Zaniolo left the Italy camp last week after being questioned by police.
Italy’s game with Ukraine on Nov. 20 will decide which team gets the second qualifying spot in Group C along with England. Italy is seeking to avoid missing a second tournament in a row after failing to qualify for the World Cup last year. The decider is officially a home game for Ukraine but will take place in Germany because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Ukrainians had to recover from a goal down to beat Malta 3-1. The win was sealed when Chelsea winger Mykhailo Mudryk scored a powerful long-range shot for his first international goal.
NEARLY SAN MARINO’S MOMENT
San Marino threatened the greatest shock in its soccer history as it held the score level with Denmark at 1-1 until Denmark scored again to seal a 2-1 win that leaves it on the verge of qualification.
San Marino captain Alessandro Golinucci scored his country’s first goal in a competitive game for two years to level up the score in the 61st minute — with substitutes charging onto the field to join the celebrations — but Yussuf Poulsen’s header nine minutes later put Denmark ahead again.
San Marino has tried to qualify for the European Championship nine times and has lost every game with the sole exception of a 0-0 draw with Estonia in 2014. San Marino has won only one game ever, beating Liechtenstein 1-0 in a 2004 friendly.
Denmark could have secured qualification Tuesday but needed other results to go its way. A 2-1 win for Kazakhstan against Finland earlier ensured Denmark would have to wait until next month’s games. Group leader Slovenia won 1-0 against Northern Ireland.
Kazakhstan is trying to qualify for its first-ever European Championship and upset Finland with two late goals from Baktiyor Zainutdinov including an 89th-minute winner. Kazakhstan must win its last two games against San Marino and Slovenia next month to have any chance.
Hungary needed a win over Lithuania to qualify but instead drew 2-2 after recovering from being 2-0 down at halftime. Serbia is second in Group G and edged closer to qualifying by beating Montenegro 3-1.
FRANCE BEATS SCOTLAND
France recovered from a glaring defensive error to beat Scotland 4-1 in a friendly between two teams that have already qualified for the European Championship.
An errant pass from Eduardo Camavinga allowed Billy Gilmour to score Scotland’s opening goal before France responded with two goals from defender Benjamin Pavard, one by Kylian Mbappé and another for Kingsley Coman.