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England completes unbeaten Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with draw at North Macedonia

England North Macedonia soccer Ollie Watkins, left, Visar Musliu - The Canadian Press

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — England completed an unbeaten qualifying campaign for the European Championship by drawing at North Macedonia 1-1 on Monday, with Harry Kane forcing an equalizer via an own-goal just seconds after coming on as a substitute.

Kane entered in the 58th minute and his first action was to challenge Jani Atanasov at a corner swung in by Phil Foden. The ball struck the North Macedonia midfielder and rebounded into the net.

“I came on at the right time,” Kane, England's record scorer with 62 goals, said with a smile. “It was good to get on the pitch. I always want to help the team out, whether it’s for 90 minutes or 10 minutes.”

The own-goal canceled out the opener from Enis Bardhi, who tucked away a rebound after his penalty was saved by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the 41st minute.

The spot kick was awarded when Rico Lewis, the Manchester City defender making his England debut, was adjudged to have struck Bojan Miovski in the face with his hand as he made a clearing header. Following a long video review, the referee awarded the penalty — overturning his on-field decision — after looking at the incident on the pitchside monitor.

England had already secured qualification for next year’s tournament in Germany and finished Group C with six wins and two draws, six points clear of second-placed Italy. England beat North Macedonia 7-0 at home earlier in qualifying.

“Coming here tonight was a different test, given we’ve qualified and everything was achieved," England manager Gareth Southgate said.

“The mentality of the players was excellent, the quality with the ball was good on a very difficult pitch, and a lot of positive performances.”

Southgate again tried right back Trent Alexander-Arnold in a central-midfield role alongside Declan Rice as he assessed his options for Euro 2024.

“The next exciting bit is the draw at the beginning of December and we will see what the path looks like," Southgate said. “There are a lot of players to keep a track of.”


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