VAR takes centre stage in England-Italy 1-1 draw
London, March 28: The video assistant referee (VAR) system, already approved for use in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, largely determined the outcome of the friendly between England and Italy, which ended in a 1-1 draw here.
The hosts were leading 1-0 on Tuesday with three minutes left in regulation time when referee Deniz Aytekin turned to VAR to decide whether to award Italy a penalty for James Tarkowski’s foul against Federico Chiesa. Concluding that the penalty was warranted, Aytekin pointed to the spot and Lorenzo Insigne converted for Italy, reports Efe.
The hosts, with five changes to the squad that beat the Netherlands 1-0 last week, got off to a shaky start in the contest at the Wembley Stadium against an Italian side which failed to qualify for the World Cup.
Gareth Southgate-coached England allowed the visitors three clear chances in the first 15 minutes, but Lazio striker Ciro Immobile — who leads Serie A in scoring — wasted all three of those opportunities. While on one occasion, Immobile was left unmarked but his header went over the crossbar, on the other two chances, created out of the English defenders’ poor passing, the striker’s slow reactions allowed the defenders to recover and keep away the threats.
This raised doubts about an England defence that had kept a clean sheet in their last five matches.
Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, who was ineffectual in the 20 minutes he played against the Dutch, put England ahead in the 26th minute off a free kick by Jesse Lingard.
Ashley Young had a chance to double the lead in the 38th minute, but his shot went wide.
England continued to dominate in the second half, until the final stretch, when Italy began making inroads leading up to the crucial foul.
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