England given an Italian Assignment
Written By: Robert Halter
As part of their qualification for the finals of the World Cup in Russia, England were given a test against Italy, in a friendly fixture at Wembley during late March. But during the third minute, John Stones got caught out in possession after taking too much time over the ball and was tackled by Ciro Immobile, but the Three Lions centre back made amends by blocking Immobile’s strike inside the area. However, England responded from a set piece situation, as James Tarkowski sent a looping header over the bar, as he was close to making a mark on his debut. In the tenth minute, England fathomed another opening, when from Tarkowski’s ball out from the back, the midfield creativity of Jesse Lingard, paved the way for Jamie Vardy, who was denied from Mattia De Sciglio’s interception, to prevent Vardy from testing Italy’s keeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma. In the seventeenth minute, another opportunity goes the way of Immobile, when Antonio Candreva swings over a cross from the right which finds Immobile, in space at the six yard box, who heads the ball across England shot stopper, Jack Butland, and over the crossbar. On twenty four minutes, the Three Lions have a clear sight of goal, when Raheem Sterling wins the ball in midfield, before sliding a pass through to Vardy, whose poor connection fails to trouble Donnarumma. Two minutes later from another set piece situation, Eric Dier’s near post header goes straight into the reaches of Donnarumma. However on twenty six minutes, England press ahead, as after an infringement on Sterling, a quickly taken free kick from Lingard, clears the way for Vardy to go through on goal and riffle the ball into the top corner with a clinical finish. The VAR was assessed to see if the ball was rolling when Lingard took the free kick, but the decision was that it wasn’t and the goal stood. In the thirty second minute, a strike by Marco Parolo, is fired off target, as England stay ahead against the run of play. In the thirty eighth minute, England carve another opening, when Sterling drives forward down the right, and then slips through a pass to Ashley Young in the area, who fires the ball across the face of goal and just wide of the far post. In the fifty seventh minute, England look dangerous on the break, as Dier strides forward and lays the ball off for Sterling, who finds Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the edge of the d, but his strike down the middle goes straight at Donnarumma. England then make their first change as Oxlade-Chamberlain is replaced by Adam Lallana before Danny Rose takes the place of his club team mate, Kieran Trippier. In the sixty first minute, Lallana lacks any power with his strike from outside the box, and the ball goes straight into the safe keeping of Donnarumma. Italy later made a change of strikers, when Andrea Belotti takes over from Immobile. On sixty eight minutes, Sterling, Lingard and Lallana combine before the final ball is given to Sterling, but he scoops his shot high over the crossbar. Another change is made by the Three Lions as Marcus Rashford takes over from Vardy and Lewis Cook makes his international debut in favour of Lingard. In the seventy ninth minute, Jorginho clips the ball over the top to Lorenzo Insigne, whose volley goes across the face of goal and narrowly wide of the far post, while agonisingly going past Belotti. Italy then bring on Roberto Gagliardini for Lorenzo Pellegrini. However, in the eighty fifth minutes, after consulting the VAR, referee, Deniz Aytekin adjuges that Tarkowski has clipped Federico Chiesa in the area, and awards Italy a penalty which is slotted into the side of the goal by Lorenzo Insigne, giving no chance to Butland bringing the game back to all square as in the end, both England and Italy have to settle for a 1-1 draw.