Published: Wed, March 28, 2018
Sport | By Tony Jimenez

Nike deal hurts England preparations with World Cup ball

Nike deal hurts England preparations with World Cup ball

Southgate wants his final World Cup group together for the warm-up games against Nigeria and Costa Rica, which means today's friendly against Italy at Wembley represents a significant milestone in the fight to secure a seat on the plane to Russian Federation.

Yet England were denied when substitute Federico Chiesa went down under a challenge from England debutant James Tarkowski late on and, after a lengthy delay, the Video Assistant Referee decided Italy should have a penalty. Gareth Southgate has shown early faith in young defenders Alfie Mawson and James Tarkowski, who are both expected to start against Italy, with Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Michael Keane all out of favour. We created a lot of chances from playing out (from the back) and that's a massive thing.

The Three Lions opened the scoring midway through the first half as Jamie Vardy took advantage of a quick free-kick to leather home his seventh global goal. "If we'd had it in Holland the other night we might have had a penalty and a red card after two minutes".

England will meet Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in the group stage of the World Cup, and it looks like it won't be a hard task for them.

A new era of young Italians, including Gianluigi Donnarumma, Daniele Rugani and Patrick Cutrone, is being ushered in in the hope that a new manager can bring back the glory days. The referee allowed the goal, despite the protests of the visitors, and Southgate's men finally began to play with some confidence.

However, Vardy furthered his case should Southgate have to cope without Kane once more in Russian Federation by blasting ruthlessly into the roof of the net from Jesse Lingard's quickly taken free-kick. But it was third time lucky when he put England in the lead in the 26th minute.

Southgate was asked about once again choosing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jesse Lingard in place of Delle Ali after Friday's 1-0 win away to the Netherlands.

Ashley Young had the first real chance of the second half after a slippery run down the left channel, but his shot was blocked at the last second.

That leaves Southgate short of creativity with Liverpool's Adam Lallana struggling for games and fitness after impressing for England last season. "It's play when you can play and if it's not on, don't make the wrong decision". Marcus Rashford in particular looked sharp after his introduction from the bench and his direct approach helped to lift the crowd.

He also says that he will change the starting squad for the match against Argentina and hinted that Jorginho and Marco Parolo will start at the midfield while Lorenzo Insigne starts in the attack.

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