VAR was the star as England let slip a 1-0 lead against Italy tonight as the Three Lions drew 1-1 in a friendly at Wembley.
Playing comfortably and just about worthy of the lead through a first half strike by Jamie Vardy, England succumbed to video technology with five minutes left as German referee Eduard Beitinger consulted the TV replay and changed his mind - deciding that James Tarkowski did stamp on substitute Federico Chiesa.
Say what you like about the technology, the resultant change of original decision, brought about the correct decision, and up stepped Lorenzo Insigne to slam the ball past Jack Butland.
Twice England were caught napping in the opening three minutes, as the three at the back might as well as been none at the back. Tripper and then Stones conspiring to allow the Italian to attack. Thankfully their recovery was better than their initial defending.
England got a foothold in the game after the initial scare and a game of cat and mouse ensued.
Italy had a glorious chance on 17 minutes but Ciro Imobile’s free header from six yards out went over jack Butland’s crossbar.
England first worthwhile effort came on 24 minutes when Raheem Sterling shrugged off a tackle to continuer his run on the Italian defence. He slid an inch-perfect ball to Jamie Vardy, who took a touch but shot directly at Gianluigi Donnarumma.
England took advantage of a quick free-kick after Sterling was hacked down again which saw Jesse Lingard touch the ball to Vardy, who unleashed an unstoppable shot high and wide of the left arm of Donnarumma to put England into a 27th minute lead.
Immobile then ran through the England defence unchecked before seeing his shot turned away for a corner. From the resultant kick, Marco Parolo pinged a vicious 20 yard shot inches over Butland’s goal.
England should have notched up number two when Sterling’s pace once again had Italy shaking. He passed the ball to Ashley run, whose shot was turned away for a corner by Chelsea’s Davide Zappacosta.
Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain entered referee Eduard Beitinger’s book for petulantly kicking the ball away after a needless foul.
How Young remained on the pitch when he cut Zappacosta almost in two is anybodies guess. He was not even given a yellow card.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
A fine piece of attacking possession by England almost reaped dividends on 55 minutes when Sterling, again a thorn in the Italian defence set but in-running Young, but the Manchester United wingback’s shot was deflected away. Oxlade-Chamberlain forced Donnarumma into a smart save following a quick counter-attack on 56 minutes - Sterling again the architect.
Danny Rose came on for Trippier and he was followed onto the pitch by Adam Lallana for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Marcus Rashford and Lewis Cook entered the fray on 70 minutes, Vardy and Lingard made way.
Stones gilt a smack inn the face by a Zappacosta cross and failed to recover. He left the pitch to be replaced by Jordan Henderson.
Lorenzo Insigne was inches away from an equaliser with 11 minutes on the clock, but his left-footed volley, after he crept behind the England defence, cut across Butland but was inches away from his far post.
With the clock ticking down, in came VAR - Italy took advantage and Chiesa took the spot kick and smashed home the equaliser.
England: Butland, Trippier, Young, Walker, Stones, Tarkowski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Dier, Vardy, Sterling, Lingard
Subs: Rose, Hart, Henderson, Maguire, Mawson, Livermore, Lallana, Cook, Alli, Rashford, Pickford, Pope, Welbeck
Italy: Donnarumma, Zappacosta, Ruganiu, Bonucci, De Sciglio, Parolo, Jorginho, Pellegrini, Candreva, Immobile, Insigne,
Subs: Buffon, Pepin, Florenzi, Daemian, Ferrari, Ogbonna, Verratti, Gagliardini, Cristante, Bonaventura, Belotti, Cutrone, Chiesa, Verdi