Buffon reaches landmark
GIANLUIGI BUFFON earned a European record-equalling 167th cap as Italy played out a goalless friendly draw with their Euro 2016 quarterfinal tormentors Germany in Milan yesterday.
The 38-year-old Buffon, who made his Italy debut in 1997, is now level with retired Spain legend and fellow goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Although Buffon is now just 17 behind world record-holder Ahmed Hassan of Egpyt (184), the appearance of AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma for a more positive second half was a reminder that retirement may not be too far off.
Hosting Germany just four months after a dramatic penalty shoot-out defeat ended their Euro 2016 hopes in Bordeaux, Italy were looking to end their three-game winless streak against the world champions.
But the hosts failed to transform a promising finish to the game into a win, Torino striker Andrea Belotti notably hitting the upright late on.
“We were facing the world champions and gave very little away,” said Italy coach Giampiero Ventura.
“Apart from hitting the post, we had four or five situations that we could have done better with.”
Like Ventura, Germany boss Joachim Low has one eye on the future and made several changes to his established starting line-up. By the end, he was largely happy with their performance.
“It was a good and important result for us, especially our young players,” he said. – AFP