Belfast Telegraph

Tarkowski baffled over decision to award penalty


Dubious call: Referee Deniz Aytekin uses the VAR system
Dubious call: Referee Deniz Aytekin uses the VAR system

By Carl Markham

England debutant James Tarkowski did not believe his challenge on Federico Chiesa warranted a spot-kick.

Italy equalised with three minutes left after winning a penalty following a VAR referral -the first in an England game at Wembley.

Tarkowski was the man to go into the history books, tussling with substitute Chiesa, who dropped to the floor after a tangle of legs. VAR was called for and referee Deniz Aytekin ran to the side of the pitch to assess the replay, eventually ruling against the Burnley defender.

Lorenzo Insigne stepped up to convert from the spot, cancelling out Jamie Vardy's early goal.

Tarkowski said: "I stood on his foot but I didn't think a lot of it. It is what it is - I'm not going to complain. It's been a great experience this week.

"Its never a penalty. It would have been nice to have two wins but I think there's a lot of positives to take. We look forward to the World Cup now."

England boss Gareth Southgate was also baffled by the penalty call.

"I'm glad it's not the World Cup just yet," he said.

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

"It looks like James Tarkowski stands on him but it's during the running process and he's going down anyway.

"I think the referee had a good view already. I don't think with incidents like that VAR will clear things up.

"An obvious handball and stuff like that then maybe, but we have to get on with it.

On England's performance he added: "In the first five minutes we were very sloppy and gave the ball away in our penalty area but then we settled down and created more chances.

"Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jesse Lingard did well running from midfield and Jamie Vardy scored a really good goal."

Goalscorer Jamie Vardy felt the equaliser didn't take the gloss off his side's encouraging display.

"We started off strongly in the first half and created lots but in the second half Italy started pushing on and had a few chances themselves so all-in-all I think it was a fair result," said Vardy.

"James (Tarkowski) has done brilliantly. It's his first cap and he's settled straight in.

"The game showed that we could defend as a unit and we had chances in attack which will take care of itself.

"We will see how far we can go in the World Cup."

England defender Kyle Walker, commenting on the penalty decision, said: "It is what it is. It will go for us and against us. You've got to take it on the chin."

Belfast Telegraph

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