Late spot kick helps Italy

LONDON – World Cup-bound England had the wind taken out of their sails as Italy’s Lorenzo Insigne scored an 86th-minute penalty, awarded by VAR, to cancel out Jamie Vardy’s opener and secure a 1-1 draw in a friendly at Wembley on Tuesday.

The Video Assistant Referee will used at this year’s finals in Russia and as an example of things to come it rescued Italy as they gained some crumbs of comfort after a woeful run of form that cost them a place at the tournament.

It was tough on England who, apart from a sloppy opening spell, had looked reasonably assured in what was a high-profile audition for those players still hoping to grab a place in Gareth Southgate’s final squad.

Vardy did his chances no harm at all when he thumped home after a quickly-taken free kick by Jesse Lingard in the 26th minute for his seventh England goal.

Burnley’s James Tarkowski, handed a debut in a back three, also did little wrong although it was his tackle on substitute Federico Chiesa that allowed Italy a first goal in four games and ended England’s run of five clean sheets.

Two of those shutouts were against Germany and Brazil while they also beat the Netherlands 1-0 in Amsterdam on Friday and, although they could not take the scalp of four-times world champions Italy, the England boss was upbeat.

“I feel that we have made positive progression,” Southgate, who will name his provisional 33-man squad on May 14, said.