Gianluca Scamacca had given the Azzurri the lead early in the first half, but a brace from Harry Kane and a goal from Marcus Rashford completed a 3-1 victory at Wembley Stadium.
The result enacted a modicum of revenge for England, which lost to Italy in the same stadium in the Euro 2020 final two years ago.
It also secured the Three Lions’ place at Euro 2024, which will be played in Germany next year, with the team sitting atop Group C with 16 points after six games.
However, the defeat leaves Italy’s hopes of qualifying in the balance with the Azzurri on 10 points after six games, three points behind Ukraine which has 13 points after seven games.
Italy has two games remaining in the qualification process which will be played in November – at home to North Macedonia and away against Ukraine – knowing it needs to move into second place in Group C to qualify for next year’s tournament.
If the two-time continental champion fails to make it to Euro 2024, it will continue an unprecedented period of disappointment for the Italian men’s national team, having failed to qualify for the last two World Cups.
For a four-time world champion and the reigning European champion, not making it to Germany would signal another major failure.
Italy head coach Luciano Spalletti said he thought his side didn’t deserve Tuesday’s result with the way it played.
“I don’t think the team deserved to lose by two goals,” Spalletti – who took over as manager in September after the previous head coach, Roberto Mancini, quit – said, per Reuters.
“We need to grow and develop in those big match-winning moments. We played well for the majority of the game, but we need to take our chances.”
For England, on the other hand, it was another impressive result and performance as it qualified for next year’s Euros.
Kane’s double took his international goal tally to 61, but Jude Bellingham was arguably the star of the show yet again.
The 20-year-old earned the penalty for England’s opener and set up Rashford to score the second as his excellent club performances for Real Madrid translate to the international stage – Bellingham has 10 goals and three assists in his first 10 matches for Los Blancos.
After the victory, England manager Gareth Southgate was keen to stress the impact Bellingham has had on the team, despite his youth.
“With Jude, his mentality is incredible for his age,” Southgate told reporters, per Reuters. “To have such an impact at such a young age, to show such maturity but also humility. We’re very lucky to have him.”