In Skopje, the mere presence of the captain proved instrumental as Southgate’s team secured a draw, maintaining their unbeaten streak in the qualifiers. Although Harry Kane didn’t start the final Euro 2024 qualifier, England, facing a potential upset against North Macedonia, turned to him for a game-changing impact.
Kane’s influence was evident almost instantly, contributing to Jani Atanasov’s own goal as he tried to defend against the Bayern Munich striker’s attempt to connect with a corner. This moment shone amid an otherwise lackluster performance by Gareth Southgate’s team in a match of little consequence. Despite the less-than-stellar showing, England avoided defeat, concluding the campaign undefeated.
The hosts initially took the lead through Ennis Bardhi, capitalizing on a rebound after Jordan Pickford saved his penalty. The penalty itself resulted from VAR penalizing Rico Lewis for inadvertently making contact with his opponent’s hand while winning a header—an unfortunate turn of events for the English side.