Gigi Buffon praised Bulgaria and admitted to a mistake on the opening goal after Italy’s 2-2 draw in Sofia.
“At the end of the 90 minutes they certainly didn’t deserve to lose. In the last 20 minutes, with 10 men, we even risked losing,” said the goalkeeper.
The Azzurri lost Daniele De Rossi to a thigh injury after all three substitutions had been completed in their World Cup qualifier.
“For the opening match of course we hoped to begin with three points, but a draw isn’t to be thrown away either.
“The first goal was odd, as the ball was moving around in the air and I tried to stay still until the end so it wouldn’t surprise me, but that bounce took it over my arms. I could’ve done better, certainly.”
Armenia now lead Group B after their 1-0 win away to Malta, while Denmark host the Czech Republic this evening.
Italy’s next game is at the Stadio Braglia in Modena on Tuesday against Malta.
“There is historically a struggle for Italy in August and September. It’s normal that when you are under pressure on the field, you use up a lot of energy, lose sharpness and it’s easier to lose your temper,” continued Buffon.
“Bulgaria played very well, showed they are a team to be respected, but we also gave them strength by allowing so many counter-attacks and building their confidence.
“We did not underestimate Bulgaria, as we have so much experience that we know these games are always to be respected. Unfortunately, theory is often different to what happens in practice.
“If the game starts going towards your opponents, it saps your confidence and can unbalance the side.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!