Wednesday March 5 2014
Buffon explains Spain goal

Gigi Buffon revealed what put him off for the Spain goal and was surprised by Gabriel Paletta’s “sumptuous” debut.

“The good news is we always make Spain struggle to beat us, even if we have to struggle even more to get a point off them,” he told Rai Sport after the 1-0 friendly result in Madrid.

“Both these nations respect and fear each other. There is a great balance between them, even if Spain still have something more.

“Unfortunately, when we do have the chance to hurt them and push forward, we lack the sharpness necessary to make those opportunities count.

“Spain have many players with wonderful technique, so every stop, pass and run is perfect. As a consequence, you have to spend more energy than they do to keep up with them and intercept those moves.

“Every now and then it’d be nice to beat Spain too!”

Parma defender Paletta made his Italy debut and was Man of the Match for the Azzurri.

“It’s the first time I played with Gabriel and I have to say his performance was extraordinary tonight. Many of us realised why he had been linked with the Azzurri jersey for such a long time. He didn’t just surprise me, but he surprised everyone with a sumptuous performance amid so many difficulties.”

Pedro Rodriguez scored the decisive goal when Paletta’s sliding tackle had blocked off David Silva. It squirmed under Buffon’s body and the goalkeeper revealed what happened.

“On the goal there was confusion with so many people in front of me. Pedro hit it first time and if he had hit it more cleanly then I could well have saved it, but the scuff took it slightly behind me. There was also a player right in front of me who was on the limit of offside and his presence meant I only saw the ball in its final three metres.”

Diego Costa made his debut for Spain and Buffon felt he was slightly out of sync with the others.

“Diego Costa has particular characteristics that will have to adapt to the way Spain play over time. With their system, it is inevitable he’ll have to adapt to them rather than the other way round.”