Euro 2024 qualifiers roundup: Ronaldo breaks record; Northern Ireland see off San Marino

International football returned with a bang on Thursday as teams across Europe began their quests to qualify for Euro 2024.

England’s trip to Naples to face Italy was the obvious heavyweight clash of the evening, but there was entertainment all around the continent and a handful of records were sent tumbling in the process.

Here’s how all the action unfolded.

Italy 1-2 England

An early goal from Declan Rice put England ahead after 13 minutes, before Harry Kane struck from the penalty spot to double the Three Lions’ advantage and cement his place as the team’s all-time top goalscorer.

Mateo Retegui pulled one back early in the second half and kick-started a major turn in momentum, with Italy well on top but unable to find an equaliser, even after Luke Shaw’s red card with ten minutes to go.

North Macedonia 2-1 Malta

Second-half strikes from Elif Elmas and Darko Churlinov have North Macedonia an unsurmountable lead, despite Yannick Yankam’s strike at the death.

Kazakhstan 1-2 Slovenia

Slovenia had to come from behind after Maxim Samorodov headed Kazakhstan ahead in the first half, but goals after the break from David Brekalo and Zan Vipotnik secured a win for Slovenia.

Denmark 3-1 Finland

Atalanta forward Rasmus Hojlund did little to cool the hype around him with a hat-trick in Denmark’s 3-1 win over Finland.

San Marino 0-2 Northern Ireland

A Dion Charles double fired Northern Ireland to a 2-0 win over San Marino, although it was an uncomfortable performance from the away side on Michael O’Neill’s return to the dugout.

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Bosnia & Herzegovina 3-0 Iceland

Rade Krunic scored twice in the first half to set up a routine victory for Bosnia & Herzegovina, who added a third through Amar Dedic shortly after the hour mark.

Portugal 4-0 Liechtenstein

Cristiano Ronaldo became the most-capped player in the history of men’s football as he started his 197th game for Portugal.

He’d go on to grab two goals in the second half – a penalty followed by a free-kick – after Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva had already found the net.

Slovakia 0-0 Luxembourg

Slovakia had plenty of shots on goal but were made to pay for their profligacy as they slumped to a 0-0 draw with Luxembourg.

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