Wednesday May 28 2014
Buffon sets minimum Azzurri target

Italy captain Gigi Buffon says the quarter-finals are the minimum requirement for the Azzurri at this summer’s World Cup.

The Juventus goalkeeper was speaking to Gazzetta Dello Sport and said anything less than a last-eight appearance in Brazil would not constitute a good tournament for Cesare Prandelli’s team.

The 36-year-old also praised his side’s ability to compete with the top nations in the world and added that out of Group D opponents England, Uruguay and Costa Rica, Italy were likely to advance the furthest.

“From the quarter-finals onwards we can say it has been a good World Cup and a positive tournament,” Buffon commented.

“But naturally you are never fully satisfied. I don’t feel as if I can say today with certainty that we can reach the final.

“I think that our national team has become one that is reliable and that manages to win the matches it should win. Sometimes we manage to cause surprises in the games in which we don’t start as favourites, giving the opposition some headaches.

“I’m thinking about Spain, with whom we have drawn twice recently and Brazil, against whom we lost but played a great match.

“At this moment, Italy are the team who can think about going the furthest compared with England and Uruguay – at least at the start of the tournament.

“The favourites are Brazil, Spain, Germany and Argentina. We are slightly further back.”