England vs. Italy: Crucial Euro 2024 Qualification Clash at Wembley
|Harry Kane of England during the international friendly match between England and Australia at Wembley Stadium on October 13, 2023 in London, England.(Image-Getty)
England is preparing to host Italy at Wembley in a critical match that could secure their qualification for Euro 2024 with a victory over the Azzurri. Having previously triumphed 2-1 in Naples earlier this year, Gareth Southgate's team has an opportunity to solidify their qualification by defeating the defending champions once again.
The upcoming clash marks the first encounter between the two nations at Wembley since Italy claimed victory on penalties in the Euro 2020 final. Following their previous meetings in the Nations League and the recent fixture in Italy, England is determined to seek redemption and potentially influence the outcome of the group standings.
After making significant changes in the friendly win against Australia, Southgate is expected to reintroduce key players for this crucial encounter. The return of prominent figures such as Harry Kane, Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, Declan Rice, and Jude Bellingham is anticipated to strengthen England's lineup and reinforce their chances of securing a favorable result.
The potential participation of Jordan Henderson remains uncertain following his recent controversial move to Al-Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia, which sparked a mixed response from the crowd during the friendly against Australia. Henderson's advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights and subsequent transfer to a country where homosexuality is illegal has drawn attention and speculation regarding the potential fan reaction during the upcoming match against Italy.
A victory over Italy would alleviate the pressure on England in the subsequent November fixtures, providing an opportunity for Southgate to experiment with new players and tactics without the compulsion of securing crucial points. Meanwhile, Southgate emphasized Italy's revival under new head coach Luciano Spalletti but underscored the potential consequences of a defeat for the Azzurri, who are vying to secure their place at Euro 2024 amidst competition from Ukraine and North Macedonia. The upcoming clash between Ukraine and Italy in the final round of fixtures could potentially determine the qualification for Euro 2024, adding further intrigue to the qualification race.