On this day in 2015: Harry Kane scores on ‘dream’ England debut in Lithuania win

By Sports Desk March 27, 2024

England’s all-time record scorer Harry Kane opened his international goal account within 80 seconds of making a “dream” debut on this day in 2015.

Kane netted almost immediately after coming on as a 70th-minute substitute against Lithuania at Wembley, wrapping up a 4-0 win with a thumping far-post header.

The then 21-year-old, who had already scored 29 goals for Tottenham that season, was given a standing ovation as he took to the field and it did not take him long to get the sell-out crowd back on their feet as, with one of his first touches, he found the back of the net.

Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling scored England’s other goals, but the headlines belonged to Kane after a one-sided Euro 2016 qualifier.

Asked if he knew how long he had taken to get off the mark, Kane said: “Maybe a minute? Eighty seconds? Hey, it’s not too bad!

“It’s the start I dreamed of, it’s a little bit of a blur at the minute. It’s the best moment by far, to represent your country at senior level is the top. Hopefully I can keep doing it and it’s the first of many.”

It was a dream start which impressed then England captain Rooney – a man who knew a thing about coping with pressure and scoring goals and whose national-record of 53 goals Kane surpassed in March 2023.

“It’s fantastic, international football’s different and to score after 80 seconds is incredible for Harry,” he told ITV. “We’re all delighted and hopefully it’s the first of many.”

All those involved were quick to try and keep a lid on expectations, but given Kane now stands alone at the top of England’s goalscoring charts, they clearly knew what they were seeing.

“It is fantastic for Harry,” manager Roy Hodgson said. “We’re so delighted for him. It is a bit of a fairytale, but it’s nice when fairytales come true and it’s come true for Harry.”

“He’s crowned his England debut with a well-taken goal. Couldn’t be better really. It’s a very satisfying evening for us. I think it’s too early to put this pressure on Harry Kane. We should just be happy that he has done so well for Tottenham and made a name for himself to get into the England set-up.

“That’s not easy to do as we have a number of good forwards but let’s be happy with that and leave the future predictions to the future.”

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    Having downed England 3-2 in their T20I series last year, West Indies are hoping to replicate those winning performances on an even bigger stage, as the two familiar foes square off in Super Eight of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, in St Lucia, on Wednesday night.

    First ball is 7:30pm Jamaica time.

    With both West Indies and England being two-time champions, the anticipation is high ahead of what should be another intriguing clash in which familiarity will bring success for one or the other.

    However, West Indies captain Rovman Powell is optimistic that his team will come out tops and set the tone for the remainder of their Super Eight fixtures, while pushing England, the reigning champions, on the back foot.

    Both teams have met 29 times in the game’s shortest format, with West Indies holding a 17-12 advantage, one which they are intent on extending, especially on the back of their rich vein of form. Still, while the Caribbean side enters the business end of the tournament unbeaten and England just squeezed through by virtue of a better net run rate than Scotland, Powell knows better that to take the opposition lightly.

    “They are the defending champions and they are a very good team. So, it’s for us now to just sit and find some plans and see how those plans can work against them,” Powell said in a pre-match press conference.

    West Indies celebrate after topping England in their five-match T20I series last year.

    “We play them [England] actually every year, so they know a lot about us, we know a lot about them. It’s just that when you’re playing the game on the day, whoever gets on top has to stay on top for as long as possible,” he added.

    With the venue –named in honour of their current coach Darren Sammy, who captained West Indies to World Cup triumph in 2012 and 2016 –being to their liking, Powell pointed out that they will once again be aiming to capitalise on the conditions in Saint Lucia. West Indies rewrote the record books a few times in their first game of the tournament at the venue on Monday, as they hammered Afghanistan by 104 runs.

    West Indies have won six of 10 T20Is played at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, including five of the last six. But, Powell is well aware that England also have a liking to the venue, as they have never lost any of their previous three T20Is at the ground, including five years ago when they beat West Indies by four wickets.

    “We always knew that St Lucia was going to be one of the better pitches to play matches on in the Caribbean because of our experience during CPL (Caribbean Premier League) and all the years of playing here,” Powell noted.

    Obed McCoy (left) and Nicholas Pooran (back turned) starred for West Indies against Afghanistan.

    “So, it’s good that we’re starting here, and we played one game on it (against Afghanistan) before the start of the Super Eights. We’re kind of a little bit accustomed to the boundaries and accustomed to the wicket. Hopefully, it would suit us a little bit more than the Englishmen,” he said.

    On that note, Powell welcomed the headache that comes with selecting the most formidable 11, as pacer Obed McCoy replaced Romario Shepherd and did well, bagging 3-14 against Afghanistan, while Shai Hope, wo replaced Roston Chase in the middle order, also contributed handily to the victory.

    Shepherd, who returned home for personal reasons ahead of the Afghanistan contest, is expected to rejoin the team for this Super Eight opener.

    “It’s always good and encouraging when you give guys an opportunity and they take the opportunity because it makes for good competition within the squad. It’s for us as a selection panel – myself, the coach and the chairman – to actually sit down and try to find the best combination. It’s good that guys are putting themselves up and making it a little bit difficult to pick the team,” the Jamaican reasoned.

    “I think a big part of my captaincy is giving guys opportunities and supporting them. Johnson Charles didn’t have particularly a good start to the World Cup but we always knew when he comes home, he’s going to feel at home, he’s going to feel his St Lucians behind him,” Powell shared.

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    Germany made it two wins from two games at Euro 2024 by beating Hungary 2-0, overcoming a stern test to book their place in the last 16.

    Having had things their own way from the off in a 5-1 rout of Scotland, Germany were put under more pressure by a Hungary side chasing a response to their defeat at the hands of Switzerland.

    Marco Rossi's side created several good chances in front of a nervous crowd in Stuttgart, but they failed to make them count as Jamal Musiala and Ilkay Gundogan scored either side of half-time.

    Julian Nagelsmann's hosts are now assured of a place in the knockout rounds and can win Group A when they face Switzerland on Sunday.

    Hungary's best chance of qualifying, meanwhile, is now as one of the best third-place finishers, with Scotland their opponents on matchday three.

    Just 15 seconds had been played when Manuel Neuer was worked for the first time, smothering Roland Sallai's attempt following some hesitant Germany defending.

    The hosts soon got on top, though, and they made their dominance of possession count after 22 minutes. Willi Orban appealed in vain for a foul after being nudged by Gundogan, who teed up Musiala to lash home with Peter Gulacsi grounded. 

    Neuer then had to remain alert to keep out Dominik Szoboszlai's free-kick, and Germany survived another massive scare on the stroke of half-time.

    Sallai reacted quickest to convert on the rebound after Neuer was forced into action by Orban's header, only for an offside flag against the RB Leipzig captain to deny Hungary. 

    Another huge chance went begging for Hungary on the hour mark, Barnabas Varga failing to direct his header on target after being picked out by Sallai's left-wing cross.

    Hungary were punished for their wastefulness seven minutes later, with Maximilian Mittelstadt's cutback finding Gundogan in space and allowing him to sweep into the bottom-right corner to give the hosts daylight. 

    Hungary almost got one back late on as Neuer spilled a looping cross, but Joshua Kimmich got back on the line to clear Martin Adam's shot and preserve the shutout. 

    Musiala justifies the hype 

    Having doubled Germany's lead over Scotland with a powerful finish into the roof of the net last Friday, Musiala put Nagelsmann's side ahead with a similar strike on Wednesday.

    Tipped to play a talismanic role ahead of the tournament, it's fair to say Musiala is living up to the billing.

    At the age of 21 years and 114 days, he has become the second youngest player to ever score on his first two starts at the European Championships, after Ferenc Bene at Euro 1964 (19 years, 186 days).

    He is also the youngest player in history to score in a team's first two group-stage matches at a single edition of the tournament. 

    Hungary give hosts a scare

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    Hungary certainly put up more of a fight, with their seven first-half shots the joint-most Germany have faced at the Euros since Turkiye attempted 16 against them in 2008.

    Their best opportunity, according to the expected goals figures, came after just 15 seconds as Sallai spurned a chance worth 0.36 xG. That would have been the fastest goal in Euros history, surpassing Nedim Bajrami's 23-second strike against Italy last Saturday.

    Poor finishing – as well as three saves from Neuer – cost them, and Germany upped the ante in the second half to pull away.

  • 'Anyone would have him!' – Casillas excited to see Mbappe at Real Madrid 'Anyone would have him!' – Casillas excited to see Mbappe at Real Madrid

    Former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas believes the European champions have brought in someone special with the signing of Kylian Mbappe.

    France star Mbappe announced he was leaving Paris Saint-Germain in May before making the move to Madrid earlier this month, ending a years-long transfer saga involving the two teams and the striker.

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    With Mbappe joining a side containing a wealth of talent already, which recently captured the Champions League, Casillas is impressed by the squad that Madrid have put together.

    "Mbappe is a very good player," Casillas said. "Everyone wants to have him; anyone would have him in their respective team.

    "Real Madrid have a brilliant president and brilliant people around them. Forming a team like this is something impressive.

    "You can learn a little from the past and in that sense give some continuity to the team as a great club with great players.

    "Real Madrid has them. We will see how they continue to mesh and how they can continue giving joy to the fans."

    Mbappe was tipped to be one of the most influential players at Euro 2024, but his tournament looked in danger of ending early when he suffered a broken nose in France’s opening game against Austria.

    "With Mbappe out, France may suffer a little," two-time Euros champion Casillas added, with Mbappe's status for France's next matches uncertain.

    "But France have a team with very good players and there has been a bit of a revolution by Didier Deschamps.

    "So France can certainly still be a contender and get to the final of the Euros, but we now must see if France can play as well without him."

    Spain are the only team to win back-to-back editions of the European Championships, with Casillas captaining the side in both 2008 and 2012, while also leading them to World Cup glory in 2010.

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    Iker Casillas is a brand ambassador for Hisense's UEFA EURO 2024 campaign BEYOND GLORY which celebrates the relentless pursuit of excellence shared by professional footballers aiming for EURO honours and Hisense’s commitment to pushing boundaries in the home appliance industry.

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