2018 International Friendly, International Friendly
  • Jamie Vardy (26')
  • Lorenzo Insigne (87' PEN)

Lorenzo Insigne penalty after VAR call denies England victory over Italy

VAR made an appearance in the dying stages as Italy held England to a 1-1 draw in the final friendly before Gareth Southgate names his provisional World Cup squad.

Jamie Vardy's 27th-minute strike looked like it would separate the two teams, with England also looking to claim a record-equalling sixth clean sheet in a row. But they were denied four minutes from time when debutant James Tarkowski was adjudged to have fouled Federico Chiesa in the area.

Originally the penalty was not given but referee Deniz Aytekin consulted VAR and the spot kick was awarded. Lorenzo Insigne stepped up to smash the ball past Jack Butland.

Focus will now shift to Southgate naming his provisional squad to take to Russia this summer, with question marks over his No.1 goalkeeper -- Butland played the full 90 minutes on Tuesday after Jordan Pickford featured against Netherlands -- and his captain.

Southgate made five changes from Friday's 1-0 win over Netherlands and it was a nervy start for the hosts at Wembley, with John Stones in particular looking anxious and unsure of himself. Inside the first minute he fell asleep at the back to let Ciro Immobile in but the Italy striker took too long to get his shot away. Minutes later, Stones' poor ball control let Immobile in again but once more, the opportunity was squandered.

Vardy, who failed to get a single touch of the ball in his 22 minutes as a sub against Netherlands, thought he had a clear run on Gianluigi Donnarumma in the Italy goal but Mattia De Sciglio's superb late challenge denied the Leicester striker.

Lazio's Immobile, the leading scorer in Serie A this season, then missed a glaring opportunity 16 minutes in, somehow heading over unmarked from close range with the goal at his mercy.

In a low-key first half, Raheem Sterling played in Vardy but his weak shot was easily saved by Donnarumma, before the AC Milan goalkeeper was beaten just before the half hour. Jesse Lingard's quickly taken free kick after Sterling was fouled found Vardy, who smashed the ball home.

Italy, who will miss the World Cup for the first time in 60 years this summer, offered little in attack bar Immobile's trio of chances but managed to claim a draw late on with Insigne's penalty.

The deadline for the provisional 30-man World Cup squad submitted to FIFA is May 14.