Published: Thu, March 29, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Solid England searching for World Cup identity


Tarkowski conceded the controsvercial penalty.

England manager Gareth Southgate complained Aytekin's initial decision wasn't a case of a "clear and obvious" error.

England were denied victory over Italy at Wembley after a contencious decision using the VAR system saw them draw 1-1.

James Tarkowski clearly seemed to trod on Chiesa for Italy's spot-kick, but even then England manager Southgate protested there wasn't sufficient evidence to overturn Aytekin's original decision.

England's World Cup preparations continued in encouraging fashion as they drew 1-1 with Italy in their global friendly at Wembley.

"I think the ruling is "clear and obvious" and it's not". It's one you can debate forever.

Southgate added that he is against the use of technology, as in England's Premier League, despite the huge financial considerations wrong decisions can affect.

"But I think the VAR was smoother than when I have experienced it in previous times, so I have got no complaints with that and the time that it took". It's sport. We shouldn't be talking about how much money is lost.

"After that we settled into the game and we probably created more chances than we've done in a lot of matches". In spells I thought we played well.

The goal lifted England's performance, with the excellent Ashley Young seeing a first-time effort deflected wide before a marauding run early in the second half was stopped by Leonardo Bonucci's last-gasp block.

Comfortable and controlled in Friday's 1-0 win over Holland in Amsterdam, the Three Lions were fortunate their mistakes were not punished by another country who failed to qualify for Russian Federation.

England have had to cope without talismanic striker Harry Kane through injury for all of their last four friendlies.

The VAR will used at this year's finals in Russian Federation 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.

The friendly was the England players' last chance to press home their case for a place on the plane, with the provisional 35-man squad due in with Federation Internationale de Football Association on May 14 and the final 23-group required to be finalised by June 4.

Southgate was unaware about the latest development immediately after the draw against Italy, but believes talk of England boycotting the finals has been quelled.

Kane himself has scored seven goals in his last six worldwide appearances.

They were almost punished when Insigne volleyed across Butland and just beyond the far post 10 minutes from time.

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