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Gareth Southgate has expressed doubts over whether James Tarkowski’s challenge on Federico Chiesa should have been referred to the video assistant referee after Italy were belatedly awarded a penalty to clinch a draw three minutes from time.
The German referee, Deniz Aytekin, considered his decision after viewing a rerun of the incident on a screen on the halfway line and awarded the spot‑kick much to England’s frustration. Lorenzo Insigne duly converted, the first goal Southgate’s team have conceded in six matches.
“We have to accept the ruling but I don’t think it was a clear
and obvious error,” the England manager said. “It’s one you can debate all day.
“It looks like James stands on him but it’s during the running process and he’s going down anyway. 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
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... I prefer referee’s decision is final. That’s my starting point. It’s sport. We shouldn’t be talking about how
much money is lost. It’s based on sport.
“But if we go with technology then VAR is the right thing to do but it must be clear and obvious – otherwise it’s just opinion again – and there must be a better way of communicating with the fans. There’s a clearer communication with those in the stadium in other sports. I suppose if we’d had it in Holland the other night we might have had a penalty and a red card after two minutes. I don’t know whether it’ll be ready at the World Cup. But if it’s for straightforward decisions, then it’s OK. Other countries are further ahead in the experiment than we are. But the rules are the rules. I’m just glad it’s not
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the World Cup just yet.”
Southgate was more encouraged by his team’s performance which, until rhythm was disrupted amid a flurry of substitutions, saw England dominate the Italians. “In terms of the last four games, we’ve played four of the biggest football countries in the world – they’re at different levels of progression – and we’ve been competitive in every game. Our patterns
of play have become far clearer. What’s really pleased me is the guys are solving problems on the pitch themselves: changes of formation from the opposition; working their way through different pressing tactics. That’s a real plus.”
Dele Alli failed to feature in either England friendly, with Southgate suggesting he had struggled in training “with a little injury problem” over the 10-day get-together. “But he’s an important player for us, no question,” said the manager, who must submit his provisional squad for the World Cup by 14 May. “We wanted to get Adam Lallana on as an important part of his rehabilitation. Dele always wants to play. He’s disappointed with that,
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but he’s a really good player and an important member of the squad for us.”
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