Buffon sets Italy bar high
By Football News
Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon believes that anything less than a quarter-final appearance at the FIFA World Cup would be a failure.
Goalkeeper Buffon helped Italy win the 2006 World Cup, while they also reached the UEFA Euro 2012 final before losing to Spain.
The 36-year-old is confident that his team have the ability to cause upsets throughout the tournament and praised their ability to avoid surprise defeats.
Buffon said on Wednesday: "From the quarter-finals onwards we can say it has been a good World Cup and a positive tournament.
"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 (with) twice recently and Brazil, against whom we lost but played a great match."
Italy begin the tournament with a match against England on June 14 and will also face Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D.
And Buffon has tipped Cesare Prandelli's side as the most likely pool winners.
"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," he added.
"The favourites are Brazil, Spain, Germany and Argentina. We are slightly further back."