Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was left fuming as he went off
the pitch despite Italy having qualified for the Euro 2012 final
with a 2-1 win over Germany.
The 34-year-old Juventus stopper had made half a dozen crucial
stops to help his side to a 2-0 half-time lead following a brace
from Mario Balotelli.
But Buffon was left incensed that his side were hanging on at the
final whistle after spurning at least four counter-attacking
opportunities to put the game to bed when still leading by two
Instead a Mesut Ozil penalty in injury time ensured Italy had a
nervy final few minutes.
"I was annoyed at the final whistle because I don't celebrate
second place and I was angry with us because we could have
avoided the difficult final five minutes," he fumed.
"When you can score seven goals against Germany, you have to
score seven because if they come back to 2-2 they'll beat you
10-2 in extra-time.
"We need to be more mature and to know that even if football is a
game, when you reach the European Championship final, it's no
longer a game."
Buffon was particularly unimpressed with the attitude shown by
certain younger members of the squad.
"I also evaluate things based on certain behaviour and there's
still things to improve.
"There are youngsters who have to learn this because otherwise
the old guard like me gets angry.
"We played a great game, we could have won by more. We did very
well today and things went well."
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli backed his captain's stance.
"Gigi is a World Cup winner and when you have three or four
chances to finish a game you should do it," he said.
"It only takes a penalty or a free-kick to put this game back
into question, so obviously he's annoyed. This is the mentality
of a champion."
For Andrea Pirlo, who was named man-of-the-match by former
Manchester United and Denmark great Peter Schmeichel, there is no
reason to celebrate yet.
"I've always given my best and now we deserved to reach the final
and we have to make the most of this moment," he said.
"But I don't laugh a lot because we haven't done anything yet.
"There's no use going to Rome and not seeing the Pope. We want to
go home with this Cup.
"Sunday we'll have the same spirit of fighting and running that
we showed against England (in the quarter-final)."
For Giorgio Chiellini, who unlike Buffon and Pirlo was not part
of the 2006 World Cup winning squad, this victory was worth
"We're living a dream and millions of Italians are with us," he
"We'll enjoy this win a little more and then we'll start thinking
about Sunday because we want to keep dreaming."