Credit: Photo by Icon sport
Gianluigi Buffon believes that the EURO 2024 squad is reminiscent of the one Italy went through at EURO 2012, when they reached the final. “I don’t know how many teams are really stronger than us.”
The reigning European champions are drawn in the same group as Spain, Croatia and Albania for next summer’s tournament in Germany. Buffon, who won the 2006 World Cup with Italy and, following his retirement, became head of the Nazionale delegation. He was also one of the legends present in Hamburg to take part in the draw for the group stage, and above all to present the European Championship trophy. “It was wonderful to put this trophy back in the circle, as we feel a sense of pride and responsibility to be taking part in this competition as defending champions. This group is a bit like the one we had at EURO 2012 with Spain, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland. That time, we came second and reached the final. This time, in this format, the four best third-placed teams also qualify, which increases our chances. We’re worried, but the other teams won’t be jumping for joy against Italy either. There will be time until June for this team to improve. In individual terms, there are 3 or 4 teams in the competition with stronger squads, but when we work as a single unit, with a single spirit, I don’t know how many teams are really stronger than us,” Buffon told RAI Sport.