Reigning champions Italy eased to a 4-0 victory over Malta in Euro 2024 qualifying on Saturday, while Denmark strengthened their position and dented the hopes of outsiders Kazakhstan.
Giacomo Bonaventura curled in his first Italy goal and Domenico Berardi produced a fine strike of his own to double the lead in Bari.
Berardi struck again in the second half before Davide Frattesi rounded off a comfortable evening for Luciano Spalletti’s side who kept hold of second place in Group C of Euro 2024 qualifiers ahead of next week’s showdown with England.
“That match is where we will really see how much potential we have,” Spalletti told broadcaster RAI.
Italy, with a game in hand, closed to within three points of England going into their clash at Wembley.
“It will definitely be emotional, I have amazing memories from that stadium,” said Berardi, who played in Italy’s Euro 2020 shoot-out final win over England.
“We’ll go there trying to do what we did today, play our own game and look to win.”
Ukraine are level with Italy after a 2-0 win over North Macedonia in Prague.
Georgiy Sudakov put Ukraine ahead on 30 minutes and substitute Oleksandr Karavaiev sealed victory deep into stoppage time, ahead of their visit to Malta next week.
Denmark avenged their shock loss to Kazakhstan in March as Robert Skov netted twice in a 3-1 win in Copenhagen.
Jonas Wind set the Danes, semi-finalists at Euro 2020, on their way before Skov scored a quick-fire double either side of half-time.
Kazakhstan pulled one back via Yan Vorogovskiy but they fell four points off the pace in Group H of Euro 2024 qualifiers.
“First of all, we must be happy about a victory in a European qualifier at home. It hasn’t been plain sailing in this group,” Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand told broadcaster TV2.
“It was an extremely important home game, and we were forced to win. The pressure was there, and we got the victory we had to.”
Benjamin Sesko’s brace powered Slovenia to a 3-0 win over Finland in Ljubljana.
Sesko’s first came from the penalty spot and the RB Leipzig forward added another with a clinical finish, taking him to eight goals in his last 11 international appearances.
Defender Erik Janza grabbed a late third for Slovenia, who lead Denmark at the top on goal difference. The two countries meet in Copenhagen on November 17.
Slovenia are away to Northern Ireland next week and Denmark will be almost certain to beat San Marino — losers in all but one of 82 previous Euro qualifiers.
Northern Ireland beat San Marino 3-0 for only their second win in seven outings.
Hungary seized control of Group G thanks to a 2-1 victory at home to Serbia.