The Azzurri had to see out the final 10 minutes of extra time with 10 men after Riccardo Montolivo was sent off, but Cesare Prandelli’s team dug deep and secured victory on penalties when Buffon saved from Walter Gargano.
"It's a moment for us to be proud, because we did well in a very difficult match," he said.
“It would've been harder if we didn't show this type of character on the pitch. We suffered a lot during the match, but this outcome made it worthwhile and I was able to give my best for the team."
Italy were knocked out in the semi-final by Spain on penalties after a brave display against the world champions and the manner of the victory over Uruguay convinced Buffon that his country are still right at the top of the international game.
"We honoured our place in the football world the best way we could,” added the Juventus keeper.
“It’s a miracle we’re here now. We managed not to lose, and this is very positive.”