Italy snatch late draw at Wembley

ROME – Italy came from behind to grab a 1-1 draw against England as the Azzurri finally found the back of the net, but the winless streak continues. A VAR decision gifted Lorenzo Insigne the chance to cancel out Jamie Vardy’s opener.

 This certainly wasn’t a creative masterclass from either side; nor was it a lesson in cultured defence. In fact, most clear-cut chances were presented from a lapse in concentration or careless defensive errors.

 John Stones’ recent lack of match sharpness was exposed early on as he inexplicably dawdled on the ball before being robbed by Ciro Immobile who could have easily put the visitors ahead.

 The miss was representative of a frustrating night for the Lazio forward who probably should have had a double inside the opening three minutes. Soon after, he sent another glaring chance, this time from a header, over Jack Butland’s crossbar as the Italians threatened to take the lead.

 Defence slackness was uncovered at the Italian end too as Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy busily looked to punish mistakes with possession being conceded far too easily. The eventual opening goal seemed likely following a spell of England pressure. Jesse Lingard’s sharpness at a breakdown in play found Vardy unmarked in the box, who finished decisively past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

 The Azzurri rarely caused trouble to the Englad defence as the host fashioned a few chances of their own. Yet, in the end, a VAR intervention was needed to help Italy halt their goalless sufferings, which had exceeded the six-hour mark.

 Tarkowski was adjudged to have fouled Federico Chiesa amid a tangle of legs, having initially escaped punishment. The “clear and obvious” nature of the reversal may be questioned but, ultimately, following a lengthy review, England can have few complaints about the decision.

 Lorenzo Insigne lashed home the resulting spot-kick to earn his team a draw which, to a certain extent, helps to mask their recurrent defensive frailties and attacking deficiencies.

 The result, however, was a fair outcome for the Italians after a performance with slightly more character, despite a lack of quality. Fans and players now have plenty of time to mull over recent disappointments and the selection of the next head coach whilst the absent Italians try to mute the inescapable World Cup hype.

 af