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Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 13:06 UK

Buffon wants response from Italy

Gianluigi Buffon
Buffon apologises to fans after Italy's defeat by Holland

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon hopes Italy can recover from their 3-0 defeat by the Netherlands - a result he sees as the low-point of his Azzurri career.

"We played the worst game since I joined the national team 12 years ago," the 30-year-old captain said after Monday's Euro 2008 Group C clash.

"We apologise to every Italian fan. We hope we will react immediately and show our pride in our next game."

Italy's next match is against Romania in Zurich on Friday.

And the world champions' coach, Roberto Donadoni, knows his side face a tough task in what has become a crunch encounter for both sides' qualification hopes.

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Romania and France fought out a goalless draw in their opening match and Donadoni said: "Romania proved yet again that they are a strong team but this game has become crucial for us.

"We must think about ourselves and analyse the errors we have made.

"We need to recover our energy and mental strength."

Italy's defeat in Berne was their first against the Dutch for 30 years and their heaviest in any tournament since they were beaten 4-1 by Brazil in the 1970 World Cup final.

Veteran Italian forward Alessandro Del Piero, who came on as a second-half substitute, added: "It was a negative evening for everyone.

"Everyone feels in some way responsible.

"We have to work on improving what didn't work. We just have to think about Friday now and try to forget what was an ugly evening for us."

We usually play our best in do-or-die games - now we'll have to do it again

Luca Toni

And fellow striker Luca Toni, who endured a frustrating evening against the Dutch, is also confident of putting things right when they meet Romania in Zurich.

"We were very disappointed after the game," the Bayern Munich star said. "But we looked into each others' eyes and all of us know perfectly what there is at stake in our next game.

"We have a few days to understand what went wrong and to try to play a great game against Romania. We usually play our best in do-or-die games - now we'll have to do it again.

"It was not our night against the Dutch. However, we have to forget that game quickly and start to think about the next two. With two good results we will go through - we have to think positive."

The Italian media were particularly critical of Donadoni, with headlines on Tuesday calling for the return of 2006 World Cup-winning boss Marcello Lippi, who stood down after his success in Germany.

"Honestly, that was something I expected," Donadoni said.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the Italy coach came under fire for his team selection, the age of his squad and even his failure to raise his voice in post-match interviews.

"Mamma Mia! - criticising someone for their tone of voice is a mistake," Donadoni added.

"The only certainty is that we lost and the only thing we can do now is try to straighten things out for the next game."




Group C
17 June 2008 21:41
    P GD PTS
1 Netherlands 3 8 9
2 Italy 3 -1 4
3 Romania 3 -2 2
4 France 3 -5 1

see also
Netherlands 3-0 Italy
09 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Italy team guide
15 May 08 |  Italy
Netherlands team guide
15 May 08 |  Netherlands


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