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Jamie Vardy scores sneaky goal in England draw vs. Italy

By Alex Butler
Jamie Vardy scores sneaky goal in England draw vs. Italy
England's Jamie Vardy scores his side's first goal during the International friendly match between England and Italy Tuesday at Wembley Stadium in London, Britain. Photo by Kieran Galvin/EPA-EFE

March 27 (UPI) -- England scored off of an unbelievably quick free kick in its tie against Italy Tuesday in a soccer friendly at Wembley Stadium in London.

The cheeky goal came in the 26th minute. England forward Raheem Sterling was dribbling down the middle of the pitch before being upended by Marco Parolo. The first collision wasn't called, but the referees blew the whistle when Sterling was knocked down a second time.

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Instead of waiting for the defense to settle -- or for more of his teammates to join him downfield -- Jesse Lingard opted to touch the ball slightly to stop it, before tapping on a sneaky free kick.

Vardy ran onto the feed and blasted it into the near-post netting for England's only score, beating Gianluigi Donnarumma.

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But the Italians would get the last word. A trio of English defenders took down Federico Chiesa in the box in the 87th minute. Italian forward Lorenzo Insigne stepped up and finished the resulting penalty kick past a diving Jack Butland for the equalizer.

"England deserved a win. In spells I thought we played well," England manager Gareth Southgate said after the game, according to the team website. "The first five minutes I thought we were sloppy, poor marking from a cross and giving the ball away in our penalty area."

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"After that we settled into the game and we probably created more chances than we've done in a lot of matches."

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"I thought we were a real threat -- Raheem and [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain] running from midfield and Jesse, too."

England has another friendly at 12:15 p.m. on Monday at Wembley Stadium. Italy battles Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

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