NEWS
Sunday June 23 2013
Buffon: 'Italy improvement'

Gigi Buffon feels the performance against Brazil was an improvement, but “we’ve got to stop conceding goals” and hope Spain have an off day.

Italy were beaten 4-2, but the goalkeeper believes they played considerably better than when defeating Japan 4-3.

“Paradoxically I am more satisfied today than after the Japan win,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“We lost a strange game, as we started badly and Brazil had a few early chances to take the lead. They only managed it on a set piece and I was told that was offside.

“We played on a par with Brazil after the break, played with character and lost only due to incidents.

“At the end of the day what this game tells us is that Brazil are the favourites for the tournament victory, but we can have our say.

“We created chances, scored two goals and that gives us confidence. We were still coming off a ‘shocking’ match with Japan where we were chasing shadows, so besides the result I think Italy rediscovered themselves here.”

The Azzurri conceded eight goals in three group games and the Brazil match was only the second time Buffon let in four during a single match. The other was the Euro 2012 Final.

“I do hope we stop conceding so many goals, as it is unlike our nature, even if some of them were controversial. With a little more focus from everyone, the goals we conceded might’ve been half that.

“The free kick should not be conceded on my post, but I didn’t see the ball leave Neymar’s foot, nor arrive in the top corner. There were six or seven people in front of me and I just couldn’t see the ball.”

Italy go through second in Group A and will face the winners of Group B – most likely Spain – in Thursday’s semi-final.

“We hope Spain are not the same as they were a year ago and that we are better than we were in that Final,” added Buffon.

“How do you stop Spain? Who knows?! You have to hope you’re in good physical shape, can contain them, irritate them and hope the goalkeeper is in good form with incidents that go your way.”

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