VAR plays its part as Italy snatch draw from Wembley

Jamie Vardy’s opener was cancelled out late on by a Lorenzo Insigne 88th-minute penalty

England’s Kyle Walker speaks with Italy’s Federico Chiesa after he is fouled resulting in a penalty at Wembley Stadium. Photograph: PA

England 1 Italy 1

England’s World Cup preparations continued in encouraging fashion despite the frustration of a video assistant referee ruling allowing Italy to snatch a 1-1 draw at Wembley.

Four days after securing a deserved win in Holland, tentative optimism continued as England produced a promising display against another big-name absentee from this summer’s finals.

Italy are not the force they once were but this was another assured display from England, even though a familiar lack of cutting edge meant Gareth Southgate’s side failed to build on Jamie Vardy’s first-half goal. Lorenzo Insigne grabbed an 88th-minute penalty leveller after a video assistant referee review.


Referee Deniz Aytekin pointed to the spot after looking at footage of debutant James Tarkowski making contact with Italy substitute Federico Chiesa, but it did not take too much gloss off another solid display in England’s last match before Southgate names his squad for Russia.

The friendly was the England players’ last chance to press home their case for a place on the plane, with the provisional 35-man squad due in with Fifa on May 14th and the final 23-group required to be finalised by June 4th.

Southgate will have been largely impressed by his side’s performance, although the three-man defence was guilty of the odd hairy moment and Jack Butland did not look as assured in possession as Jordan Pickford did on his audition for the number one jersey.

At the other end patient play was complemented by intelligent attacking transitions, with sparkling Raheem Sterling’s directness causing problems — and leading to the free-kick that Jesse Lingard’s played quickly though for Vardy to fire home.

England should have had more but the lack of cutting edge that has been stark in Harry Kane’s absence continued, allowing Insigne to level after the penalty given away by Tarkowski.