Germany midfielder Julian Draxler has praised Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, following his country’s victory over the Italians on Saturday.
Mesut Ozil’s goal was cancelled out by Leonardo Bonucci’s penalty after Jerome Boateng’s absurd handball sent the defender to the spot.
The scores remained deadlocked after 120 minutes, and things would have to be settled with a penalty shootout, from which Germany came out on top.
Buffon saved Thomas Muller’s penalty, while Bastian Schweinsteiger failed to score as well. But Draxler would get the better of the Juventus stopper to help down the Italians.
After the match, he received Buffon’s jersey, and was quoted as saying: “It’s an honor to have taken a penalty against a legend like him.”
Germany have kept their dream of holding both the World Cup and Euro Cup alive, and are eager to find out who they will face after Sunday’s clash between hosts France and miracle quarter-finalists Iceland.
The 22-year-old has already been capped 23 times for his country, and should take part in his very first semi final in a European Championship tournament, when Germany take to the field again on Thursday.
He could have been Buffon’s teammate at Juventus, as the Italian side came close to signing him last summer. However, a fee could not be agreed upon, and the winger wound up at Wolfsburg instead, even after having agreed terms with the Serie A champions.