Monday June 13 2016
Buffon: 'Unique Azzurri unity'

Gigi Buffon said Italy have “the kind of unity you can rarely see in any other team” after beating fancied Belgium 2-0.

“I am happy because we won the only way we could win, which is a sign of our awareness, confidence and humility. The lads showed intelligence in how to approach the game against a side that was on paper stronger,” he told Rai Sport and Sky Sport Italia.

“We showed great organisation, heart and the kind of unity you can rarely see in any other team. The 12 lads on the bench were decisive and the 12th man for us tonight.

“I am convinced that the people back home in Italy were proud watching this side play. Of course, now we have to play like this every time, otherwise this victory will be for nothing.

“In these competitions those who are lucky enough to have a little more experience must try to put it at the disposal of the group and the younger lads to share out the responsibility. It’s not right for some to shoulder too much.

“I said that I wanted the experienced players to give 100 per cent and the youngsters to play with that pinch of healthy madness, as that is the way to get the best out of everyone.

“We had other ingredients this evening, such as the very clear organisation, determination and confidence, because when you believe in what you’re doing, luck can also go your way.

“We need to remain humble, as in my view we don’t have broad enough shoulders to carry too much responsibility and from tomorrow we’ve got to get our feet back on the ground to prepare for Sweden in the same way.”

After the final whistle Buffon attempted to swing off the crossbar in celebration, but slipped and fell heavily on to his back.

“That was my pinch of healthy madness, which at my age is still necessary!”