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England 1-1 Italy: Lorenzo Insigne hits late penalty after VAR intervention

Lorenzo Insigne's late penalty denied England a second 1-0 win in the international break
Image: Lorenzo Insigne's late penalty denied England a second 1-0 win in the international break

Lorenzo Insigne struck an 87th-minute penalty as the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) helped Italy snatch a 1-1 draw against England at Wembley.

England had looked on course for a second straight 1-0 victory following Friday night's win over the Netherlands after Jamie Vardy's 27th-minute strike. But after a dramatic VAR review, referee Deniz Aytekin, with the help of the pitchside monitor, judged England debutant James Tarkowski to have tripped Federico Chiesa in the penalty area.

Insigne made no mistake from the spot, much to the frustration of Gareth Southgate, who saw his side stretch their unbeaten run to eight matches despite the late dent to their World Cup preparations.

Italy claimed a late draw against England thanks to VAR
Image: Italy claimed a late draw against England thanks to VAR

On a night when Jimmy Armfield, Cyrille Regis and Davide Astori were remembered at Wembley, England started sluggishly and John Stones was the main offender, playing Ciro Immobile onside and losing possession to the striker on the edge of his own box in quick succession. Fortunately for England, the Manchester City defender recovered on both occasions to deny the Lazio star.

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b>England: Butland (6), Young (7), Walker (7), Stones (6), Tarkowski (6), Trippier (7), Dier (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (7), Sterling (8), Lingard (7), Vardy (7).

Subs: Rose (6), Lallana (6), Rashford (6), Cook (6), Henderson (6).

Italy: Donnarumma (7), Zappacosta (6), Rugani (6), Bonucci (6), De Sciglio (7), Pellegrini (6), Jorginho (7), Parolo (6), Candreva (6), Immobile (6), Insigne (7).

Subs: Chiesa (7), Belotti (6), Gagliardini (6).

Man of the match: Raheem Sterling

The hosts also recovered, growing into the game slowly and they fashioned a chance for Vardy, who was denied by an excellent last-ditch tackle from Mattia De Sciglio. England's pace was causing Italy problems and Vardy was in behind again, but this time his weak effort was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Three minutes later, England were ahead and this time Vardy made no mistake after some quick thinking from Jesse Lingard. The opportunity looked like it had disappeared when Raheem Sterling was fouled, but Lingard's quick free-kick played Vardy through on goal and the striker finished emphatically, rifling the ball into the top corner to score his eighth international goal.

Jamie Vardy celebrates after scoring the opening goal
Image: Jamie Vardy celebrates after scoring the opening goal

England continued to threaten after the break as Sterling slid the ball through for Ashley Young, who burst past one tackle in the penalty area but saw his shot well blocked by a sliding tackle from Leonardo Bonucci.

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Changes throughout the second 45 minutes disrupted the flow of the game but Southgate's men always looked dangerous on the break. Eric Dier and Sterling combined well to set up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the Liverpool midfielder's shot was straight at Donnarumma.

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Burnley's Tarkowski was included for his debut in defence as Gareth Southgate made five changes from the win over the Netherlands on Friday. Butland started in goal and Young, Dier and Vardy also came into the side in place of Jordan Pickford, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Marcus Rashford.

Italy, who rarely threatened during the second half, almost snatched an equaliser when Jorginho picked out Insigne, but the forward's volley flashed across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.

The visitors did snatch an unlikely draw three minutes from time and they were aided by VAR after Chiesa went down in the penalty area following contact from Tarkowski. The referee eventually awarded the penalty after consulting the footage on the pitchside monitor and Insigne buried his spot-kick past Jack Butland and into the bottom corner to grab his side a share of the spoils.

Eric Dier holds off Angel Correa
Image: Eric Dier holds off Angel Correa

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Gareth Southgate says the use of VAR would benefit from clearer communication between referees' decisions and fans

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  • England have lost just one of their last 20 internationals at Wembley (W15 D4), losing against the Netherlands in March 2016. England have been unbeaten in their 10 games at the stadium since (W6 D4).
  • England have only managed one victory in their last eight matches against the Azzurri (D4 L3) - failing to keep a clean sheet in six of the last seven.
  • Luigi Di Biagio is the first Italian national coach to fail to win his first two games since Roberto Donadoni in September 2006.
  • Insigne's penalty was the first goal England have conceded in 10 hours and 24 minutes of football (624 minutes). Meanwhile, Insigne has scored in four of his last seven games for club and country - scoring exactly once on each occasion.
  • Vardy scored his first England goal since March 26 2017 vs Lithuania - 366 days ago. However, only Harry Kane (7) has scored more under Gareth Southgate than Vardy (3).
  • Five of Vardy's seven goals for England have come against sides who were ranked in the top 15 of FIFA's world rankings.
  • Five of England's last eight goals have been scored or assisted by Man Utd players (Rashford - 1 goal, 2 assists, Lingard - 1 goal, 1 assist).
  • Tarkowski is the fourth Burnley player to make an appearance for England since the start of 2017; only Tottenham (7), Liverpool (6) and Man Utd (6) have had more players appear.

Man of the Match - Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling takes on Davide Zappacosta
Image: Raheem Sterling takes on Davide Zappacosta

England's pace caused Italy problems all night and Sterling was a key part of that.

The Manchester City winger used his pace to great effect, driving England forward at every opportunity and played a key role in the build-up to Vardy's goal.

He also held the ball up well, allowing other players to join in with the attacks in what was another promising display from Sterling, who is fast becoming a key part of Southgate's World Cup plans.

What's next?

England's World Cup preparations continue on June 2 when they host Nigeria at Wembley. They take on Costa Rica at home five days later (June 7) before their World Cup campaign gets underway against Tunisia (June 18).

Italy play a friendly against Saudi Arabia on May 27 before taking on France (June 1) and the Netherlands (June 4).

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