Kane and Ronaldo help England and Portugal stay perfect

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Englands' Harry Kane reacts during the Euro 2024 group C qualifying soccer match between England and Ukraine at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, March 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

England and Portugal made it two wins out of two at the start of European Championship qualifying, helped by their star players continuing their record-breaking streaks.

Harry Kane struck a record-extending 55th goal for his country to help England beat Ukraine 2-0, while Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice in his 198th appearance for Portugal in a 6-0 win over Luxembourg.

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Slovenia was the other team with a perfect start to qualifying for Euro 2024 after two matches as it beat San Marino 2-0.

Defending champion Italy got its first win of the qualifying campaign as it beat Malta 2-0.

KANE CONTINUES

After surpassing Wayne Rooney as England’s outright leading scorer with his penalty in Thursday’s 2-1 win against Italy in Naples, Kane extended his record streak at Wembley.

The England captain struck in the 37th minute of the Group C game, converting Bukayo Saka’s cross at the far post.

Saka deservedly got on the scoresheet himself three minutes later when turning on the edge of the area and curling a shot into the top corner.

Italy bounced back from its opening defeat to England with victory in Malta, with Mateo Retegui netting again.

The Argentina-born forward, who has Italian citizenship through his maternal grandmother, headed in a corner for the Azzurri’s opener in the 15th minute.

Retegui became the first Italy player to score in his first two competitive international matches in nearly 55 years.

The Azzurri doubled their tally in the 27th minute when Matteo Pessina tapped in a low cross from Emerson.

RONALDO AT THE DOUBLE

Ronaldo, the all-time scoring leader in men’s soccer, took his career tally for Portugal to 122 goals in 198 games.

The 38-year-old Ronaldo opened the scoring and netted his team’s fourth goal just after the half-hour mark as the 2016 champions easily won in Luxembourg.

João Félix, Bernardo Silva, and substitutes Otavio and Rafael Leão added goals for Portugal.

Also in Group J, Aron Gunnarsson netted a second-half hat trick as Iceland beat Liechstein 7-0 and Slovakia beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0.

FIVE-STAR HØJLUND

Rasmus Højlund continued his impressive start to his international career with another two goals but couldn’t prevent Denmark surprisingly losing 3-2 at Kazakhstan.

Hojlund, who scored a hat trick against Finland on his international debut on Thursday, netted another two goals in the first half to put Denmark in control.

However, Baktiyor Zainutdinov pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute and Askhat Tagybergen leveled with four minutes remaining before Abat Aimbetov stunned everyone with the winner in the final minute.

Aimbetov was sent off in stoppage time for a second bookable offence.

Finland beat Northern Ireland 1-0 to leave them level on points with Denmark and Kazakhstan in Group H, three points behind Slovenia.

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