A late Lorenzo Insigne strike cancelled out Jamie Vardy’s opener as England played out a 1-1 draw against Italy at the Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.
Two Footballing giants met at Wembley on Tuesday – the hosts resurgent while the visitors had fallen off their high pedestal after failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. And the match lived up to its billing, with both teams going at it to earn an important win.
Italy looked to take advantage of the inexperienced English backline from the get-go as Davide Zappacosta squared a pass to Jorginho in the middle of the park, who produced a sumptuous pass to get Ciro Immobile through on goal. The in-form striker though, looked clueless in the one-on-one before being dispossessed.
Immobile then found another one-on-one as John Stones was caught dallying on the ball a bit too much. But, the player again failed to capitalise as Stones pressured the striker well to put him off. At the other end, James Tarkowski skied the ball from his header from just outside the six-yard box from a corner.
Immobile could have really had a hattrick by now had he been more clinical as an Antonio Candreva cross found him perfectly in the box. But, the finish was disappointing. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a weak penalty shout turned down soon after.
Raheem Sterling rode a challenge before playing Jamie Vardy through, whose shot was weak and easily parried by Gianluigi Donnarumma. Eric Dier tested the Azzurri wonderkid again from the ensuing corner but the goalkeeper was up to the task.
The run of play soon paid dividends as Jesse Lingard pressurised the Italian defence to win the ball back in the final third and as Sterling was brought down, the Manchester United man played a quick free-kick to Jamie Vardy, who opened the scoring with a brilliant finish in the inner roof of the net.
Immobile produced a neat run from the right into the box but his shot was again a disappointment. Sterling passed the ball to Ashley Young, whose shot resulted in a corner for the hosts. The two teams headed into the break with England holding a slender lead over Italy.
The two teams had a few chances each in the first quarter of the second half, with most of them coming from long range. The best footballing piece yet of the second half saw England’s attackers play neat one-twos before Sterling skied his effort – a move that deserved a far better finish.
Lorenzo Insigne went close with a free-kick in the 74th minute. It was Insigne again in the thick of things as Jorginho produced another sumptuous ball over the English defence, but the forward fired his shot a bit wide. Federico Chiesa then had a penalty shout turned down.
Or so it seemed as the referee used the VAR to review his decision and hand Italy the penalty – one that Lorenzo Insigne converted with aplomb. There was no clear-cut chance after the equalizer, with England and Italy playing out a 1-1 draw.