Saturday October 10 2015
Buffon: 'Italy almost a Conte side'

Gigi Buffon said Italy are still en route to becoming “an Antonio Conte side” and is happy to be back in Azerbaijan.

The Azzurri play today’s Euro 2016 qualifier in Baku at 17.00 UK time (16.00 GMT) and a victory would secure their spot in the tournament.

“I know the Coach very well, I know the way we train, so seeing the intensity and energy we put into training bodes well,” the goalkeeper told Rai Sport.

“We are trying to simplify matters to make it an even shorter journey to becoming an Antonio Conte side.

“The Coach loves his work so much and will always give 100 per cent. Many times a team is the reflection of its Coach.”

Buffon has 150 caps under his belt and also played the last time Italy visited Azerbaijan 13 years ago.

That was Andrea Pirlo’s senior international debut, but the midfielder is out injured this time.

“Many years have passed since that game and I never thought I’d be back in Azerbaijan after such a long time.

“Pirlo’s absence will certainly be a blow, but those who do play will make up for it.”

Azerbaijan (probable): K Agayev; Medvedev, Huseynov, R F Sadygov, Dashdemirov; Garayev; Ismayilov, Nazarov, Amirguliyev, Israfilov; R Gurbanov

Italy (probable): Buffon; Darmian, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Sciglio; Candreva, Verratti, Parolo, El Shaarawy; Pellè, Eder

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