Tuesday October 11 2011
Buffon appreciates Italy focus

Gigi Buffon admires Italy's focus “in a game that could feel like a friendly” against Northern Ireland.

“Our concentration and determination wasn't the maximum in a game that could feel like a friendly, but despite that we still played good football and scored goals, so that bodes well for the future,” he said of their 3-0 victory.

The result means the Azzurri end the Euro 2012 qualifiers unbeaten with eight wins and two draws, having scored 20 goals and conceded just two.

Antonio Cassano scored a brace and was partnered by Sebastian Giovinco, confirming the tendency to field ‘small' forwards.

“Cassano created two wonderful goals, but that's nothing new. It's hard to see him score an ugly goal.

“Cassano is the soul of this squad. Every now and then he goes off road. We are like the class and he is the extra student who comes in and out, while we try to focus.

“Pablo Osvaldo isn't exactly a colossus either. I think in terms of pace and technique, he fits into the way we play. Antonio with Giovinco or Beppe Rossi works, because they all love the ball.”

Morgan De Sanctis was given the final minutes to run out in the Euro 2012 qualifiers in his hometown stadium, as Buffon gave way to the Napoli goalkeeper.

“He has always behaved professionally and is coming off some excellent campaigns with Napoli, so he played because he deserved it. If the Coach didn't think that, he wouldn't even have called him up.”

Italy are unbeaten in the group and Buffon believes they can have their say in Euro 2012.

“We have grown rapidly, but at the moment Spain, Germany and Holland are in front, above all in terms of self-belief. We are a new power and will see how we go when we get to Euro 2012.”

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