Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon struggled to believe that Italy failed to reach the semi finals of Euro 2016, as they bowed out after a penalty shoot-out defeat to world champions Germany.
German full-back Jonas Hector converted the winning spot kick as Germany edged the shoot-out 6-5 after a tactical 120 minutes of football saw the two sides locked at 1-1 in Bordeaux on Saturday.
The Azzuri captain was left gutted following the clash, as Germany failed to score three times from twelve yards, but still progressed to the next round of the competition.
Simone Zaza and Graziano Pelle took two of the worst penalties likely to be taken in a European Championship, whilst Leonardo Bonucci – despite scoring from the spot in normal time – and Matteo Darmian saw their efforts saved by German keeper Manuel Neuer.
The 38-year-old was clearly emotional following the tie, in what will most probably be his final European Championship after announcing his plans to retire following the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Talking to Rai Sports, as quoted by Goal Buffon apologised to his nation, “I’m sorry because we deserved it for the group that we are, for what we have made people believe.”
Prior to the tournament, Antonio Conte’s side had been labelled as one of the weakest Italian sides seen, however, their performances in France saw them receive praise with impressive displays against Belgium and Spain.
Reflecting on proceedings in Bordeaux, Buffon stated that “It’s rare for a team to miss three penalties and then that’s still not enough to win” as Germany progressed to set up a semi final show down with the victors of Sunday night’s quarter final between hosts France and Iceland.
‘Superman’, as he is affectionately known, was proud of his side’s performance across the tournament, insisting that “regrets can arrive when you feel you didn’t give everything but that’s not the case. We were a step away from a great feat”.
“I’m sad for the fans who were always with us. We were compact and hard to beat but destiny wasn’t with us this time.”