Harry Kane’s five most crucial England goals

The Spurs striker is now his country’s all-time leading scorer.

Mark Mann-Bryans
Thursday 23 March 2023 20:54 GMT
(Action Images via Reuters)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Harry Kane became England’s all-time leading goalscorer when he scored a penalty against Italy in Thursday night’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy.

Here are five of Kane’s most crucial international strikes after he usurped Wayne Rooney to take the crown.

Start as you mean to go on…

March 28, 2015 and a Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Lithuania may not be the obvious starting point for Kane’s best goals – but it certainly showed that he was ready for international football.

Having started scoring regularly following his breakthrough into the Tottenham team, Kane was handed his Three Lions debut in the Wembley clash.

Named on the bench, Kane watched Wayne Rooney score his 47th England goal and Raheem Sterling his first before he was introduced for the former with 72 minutes gone.

He needed just 79 seconds to open his England account, a back-post header squirming in to cement a 4-0 win for Roy Hodgson’s side.

Captain fantastic

Handed the captain’s armband by Gareth Southgate ahead of a World Cup qualifier away to Scotland on June 17, 2017, Kane again showed he is the man for the big occasion.

The visitors took the lead as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struck with just 20 minutes left on the clock.

But Hampden Park would become a cauldron of noise as Leigh Griffiths scored two free-kicks in the space of three minutes to turn the game on its head.

Cue Kane and his knack of knowing how to find the back of the net, volleying home a Sterling cross to the back post to draw England level at 2-2 in stoppage time for his sixth England goal.

From Russia with love

Kane claimed the World Cup Golden Boot after England’s run to the semi-final at Russia in 2018.

Two of his six goals came in the opening group stage game against Tunisia on June 18, 2018 on a surprisingly difficult evening for the Three Lions in Volgograd.

Having put England ahead in the 11th minute by turning home the rebound from a saved John Stones header, Kane had seemingly put Southgate’s side on course for three points.

But, after Ferjani Sassi’s penalty drew Tunisia level, England toiled in their attempts to find a winner until Kane headed home Harry Maguire’s knockdown in the first minute of added time to seal a 2-1 victory.

World Cup revenge

Just months on from their World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia, England were hosting them in a crunch Nations League clash at Wembley.

One of the draws of the inaugural Nations League competition and the three-team group stage was that every match mattered.

So it proved on November 18, 2018 as Andrej Kramaric’s deflected opener just before the hour had England on course to be relegated to League B.

Instead, Jesse Lingard’s equaliser meant the Three Lions were safe, before Kane took centre stage again.

Having gone seven internationals without a goal, he slid in to turn home Ben Chilwell’s cross with just five minutes remaining.

The 2-1 win took England through to the first-ever Nations League finals, where they would go on to finish third.

On the rebound

Having drawn a blank in the Euro 2020 group stages, Kane came into form at just the right time for England.

He scored the second in a 2-0 win over Germany and followed up with a brace in the quarter-final success against Ukraine in Rome.

That set up a meeting with Denmark at Wembley on July 7, 2021, where Mikkel Damsgaard’s fine free-kick on the half-hour mark was cancelled out by Simon Kjaer’s own goal.

Kane drew a superb save out of Kasper Schmeichel in extra-time before England were awarded a penalty when Sterling was tripped inside the box.

Schmeichel pushed Kane’s penalty away, only for the skipper to react quickest to turn home the rebound and send England into their first major final in 55 years – where they would lose to Italy in a shoot-out.

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