Buffon not keen on penalties
Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon has laughed off the prospect of a penalty shoot-out against England in Sunday's Euro 2012 quarter-final.
The potential for this weekend's game to be decided on spot-kicks has been much-discussed in the build-up to the Kiev clash.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart revealed on Thursday that he had already studied videos of penalties taken by Italy's players as part of his preparations for the match.
But when Buffon was asked at a press conference on Friday afternoon if he had followed suit, he appeared to insinuate jokingly that he and his fellow keepers might spend this evening watching videos of a very different kind.
"We have not watched any videos," Buffon said.
"We will watch a video tonight..."
Buffon and understudy Salvatore Sirigu then burst out laughing, both struggling to compose themselves before the press conference resumed.
However, Buffon had earlier treated the subject with greater seriousness.
"For everyone involved, for the sake of our hearts, it would be better if we get the job done without having to resort to penalties," he said.
"But if it does then we will just have to deal with it."
Hart revealed Buffon, who has more than 100 caps, was one of his goalkeeping heroes and the Italian returned the compliment on Friday.
"Together with [Manuel] Neuer and Sirigu, he can become the best goalkeeper in the world," the 34-year-old said.
"The difference between a normal keeper and a great goalkeeper is the attention to detail, not to commit mistakes during one season.
"The maximum number of mistakes a keeper can commit is two or three."
Hart is not the only player who could crush Italy's Euro 2012 dream on Sunday.
Buffon said: "Wayne Rooney has charisma and is a leader, dragging the team along with him, while John Terry, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole are all players who know how to win."
Terry and Cole helped Chelsea win the Champions League against all odds this season and Buffon drew parallels between the European club champions and England.
"Chelsea have played well in defence against Barcelona and Bayern Munich," he said.
"Probably, Bayern and Barcelona are the stronger teams but Chelsea won the match.
"I think, in this way, we can find similarities between England and Chelsea."
Buffon also acknowledged there were echoes of Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning triumph in their current Euro 2012 campaign.
Just like six years ago, Italian football is currently mired in a match-fixing scandal.
Buffon was personally implicated back in 2006 but was ultimately cleared, although his Juventus side were stripped of two Serie A titles.
Italy are also looking to salvage some pride on the field after their 2010 World Cup debacle.
The Azzurri did not even get out of the group and Buffon said: "There are always some difficulties in Italian football, so we are used to dealing with these difficulties and we want to fight against them.
"It's always hard to have a clear picture without any doubts or problems.
"Our aim before this Euro was to do better than in 2010, and we wanted to surprise people during this competition.
"Our aim was to make our supporters proud of us, here in Poland and Ukraine and in Italy as well."
England also endured a miserable World Cup and Buffon felt both sides "want to recapture the prestige that has been lost in recent years".
He added: "I only ever faced England in two friendlies and we won both.
"I've never played them in an important match before. I hope there will be more occasions, but I above all hope we win this one."
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