Lessons to learn as England’s Italian job comes undone by VAR penalty decision in World Cup warm-up

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England 1 Italy 1: The hosts took the lead through Jamie Vardy’s rifled finish but a late penalty, conceded by James Tarkowski and confirmed by VAR, saw the Italians salvage a result

A painful sting in the tail here for England, and one from which lessons will need to be learned. Italy earned their draw at Wembley – Lorenzo Insigne’s controversial penalty three minutes from time saw to that – and on the balance of chances they may even have deserved it. But Gareth Southgate’s team will reflect on a game in which their best intentions and long periods of promise ultimately gave way to a familiar and clumsy fragility.

There will be a sense of injustice over that late penalty, awarded after recourse to the Video Assistant Referee after a foul on Federico Chiesa, but in truth it was only the last in a series of lapses by England over the course of the evening. Charitably, you could put them down to a young side learning a precise system with little practice time. Equally, we are within our rights to wonder how a side this brittle in a moderately-paced friendly will cope with the searing cauldron of a World Cup.

What we learned, if we didn’t know it already, was that if problems are going to arise for this appealing but flawed England side, they will probably arise at the back, where they still look too vulnerable to a single innocuous error. John Stones had a poor game on the ball. Kyle Walker still looks a loose fit for his new centre-back role, and was a curious man-of-the-match choice. And despite a largely secure display, it was debutant James Tarkowski whose late foul, stepping on Chiesa’s foot, allowed Italy their equaliser.

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