The fear factor and rediscovered pride will spur world champions Italy on to victory in their Euro 2008 quarter-final with Spain on Sunday according to their goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
The Juventus star is a large reason why Italy are still in the competition after his penalty save from Romania’s Adrian Mutu effectively saved the Italians from a 2-1 defeat in a group match and an early plane home.
However, Buffon claimed on Saturday that the heavy 3-0 opening defeat by Holland had been a wake up call to the Italians.
“We began with that heavy defeat. And then we had a reaction as it had hurt our pride,” said Buffon.
“That is our weapon. And now we want to use it, to continue our relaunch.”
Buffon admitted that Spain would one day end their record of never having beaten Italy in a competitive match for 88 years – but it wouldn’t be on Sunday.
“This record will fall one day, but not on Sunday,” said Buffon.
“Because when one runs onto the pitch, history counts, and history is this.
“We are afraid of them. But being afraid before such an important match is healthy. But they too will be afraid of us.
“When you arrive on the pitch and you find yourselves facing Italy, Brazil or Germany it does something to the opposing teams.
“The Spanish started Euro better than us (3 wins) and in that sense they are favourites. But we are never beaten until the referee blows his whistle for the last time.”
The winners will play Russia in the semi-finals in Vienna on Thursday.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!