England’s spot at Euro 2024 will be all but confirmed with a win over the Azzurri

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England will practically seal their spot at Euro 2024 with a win over Italy on Tuesday evening. The Three Lions face off against the Azzurri at Wembley next week and will be aiming to complete an impressive double over Luciano Spalletti’s side, who they defeated 2-1 in Naples back in March and a victory will all but cement their position in Germany next summer. 

Should the Three Lions get the job done at the national stadium, it will put them nine points ahead of Italy at the top of Group C with two games to spare. While a win would not mathematically confirm things (unless Ukraine and North Macedonia draw in their qualifying clash on Saturday) due to Italy having a game in hand, England’s remaining two matches come in the shape of visits to North Macedonia and Malta – two games where straightforward victories are more than expected. So, if the hard yards are completed next week, we can all start looking at flights, ferries or – anticipating the eye-watering price of transport – swimming to Germany in June. 

Gareth Southgate’s men will first face Australia in a friendly match on Friday, however, in a game where more of the Three Lions’  fringe players are expected to feature. The likes of Ollie Watkins, Connor Gallagher and Levi Colwill should be presented with a perfect opportunity to showcase their ability against Graham Arnold’s men and stake a claim for involvement in Tuesday’s showpiece against Italy, although it remains unlikely that Southgate will deviate too far away from his tried and tested methods in a game of such high importance.

One major talking point is that, for the first time in history, Stéphanie Frappart will become the first female referee to officiate a men’s international football match at Wembley. The trailblazing 39-year-old made history in December when she officiated Germany’s 4-2 group stage victory against Costa Rica at the men’s World Cup. The fixture marked the first time in the tournament’s history that a woman had taken to the field as referee and now she will take the reins at the home of football when the Socceroos visit the capital on Friday evening. 

Away from England, Wales are in action against Croatia. Hopes of qualifying for Euro 2024 hang firmly in the balance for Rob Page’s side, with a win against the 2018 World Cup finalists on Sunday placing them in strong contention for a spot on the plane. There are just three points separating the table-topping Croatians and fourth-placed Wales in Group D, with Turkey and Armenia sandwiched in between, with all four teams still in with a real chance of qualification so everything is still to play for. 

Before all of that, though, in Group A Scotland take on Spain this Thursday and need just a point to confirm their qualification to Euro 2024 due to having a far superior goal difference compared to Norway. Steve Clarke’s men have been magnificent throughout the qualification process, beating Spain 2-0 back in March as well as Norway, Georgia and Cyprus during the respective June and September international breaks and will feel confident in their chances of getting something at the Estadio de La Cartuja. 

With Scott McTominay netting six goals in his last five qualifiers – alongside bagging both goals in a last-gasp 2-1 victory for Man United over Brentford on Saturday – the Scotland faithful will be praying he brings his shooting boots to Seville, as well as a boat load of sun cream.

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