Wednesday February 6 2013
Buffon: 'It's a growth process'

Gianluigi Buffon acknowledges Italy need more charisma, but hopes the friendly with Holland can be part of the maturation process for the 2014 World Cup.

“It’s beyond doubt that we need more character, also because we have many young players and so it is a growth process,” he said after a 1-1 draw in Amsterdam.

“From here to the Confederation Cup and the World Cup, there will be more tests and the younger players will be able to build that a bit at a time to reach Brazil in 2014 in great shape.

“I have never liked telling players off. If they get something wrong during the game I’ll make suggestions or encourage them.”

Buffon performed some stunning saves in the first half, as Italy only really came out of their shell in the final 20 minutes, an attitude that has been seen too often in friendly games.

“A lot depends on the opponents and whether a test is difficult. Of course coming to Holland it can happen that you wait a little more, which makes it look as if you’re not giving your all. The truth is we were trying to play on the counter.

“Finally we managed to interrupt this run of five consecutive friendly defeats, which was starting to annoy us.

“A game lasts 90 minutes, so there can be some periods when the opposition has control and you struggle to counter them. At the same time, they used up a lot of energy and became unable to break through, so we took advantage of that situation.”

The Azzurri started with the 4-3-3 formation, but only improved after switching back to a 4-3-1-2.

“I think it can be used again, as one game cannot decide whether a tactic is worth working on. We only had a day and a half to prepare for this match.”

Jeremain Lens scored Holland’s opener, though there were some suspicions of handball.

“I didn’t notice, as when you are there you focus more on parrying it, but my teammates said there was a handling offence.”

Buffon was asked about his future and who could take his place for the Azzurri.

“There are many who are all very talented, starting from Sirigu to new boys like Leali, Perin, Fiorillo, Bardi and Marchetti, who is not so young but doing amazing things now, while De Sanctis is a guarantee.

“There is a group of reliable goalkeepers who can take my place…. I don’t know what that will be… As long as I continue with this sort of attitude, I will carry on. It’s all about the psychological status, as I can tell whether I play well or badly by the attitude and mood I’m in.”