The Azzurri suffered a 4-0 thrashing in the final of Euro 2012 last summer, and although La Roja remain favorites to join Brazil in the final on Sunday, Buffon insists the gap in quality between the sides is not as great as some believe.
“I hope to be able to obtain an unexpected result tonight that I can share with my teammates. We want to make a good showing against one of the best teams in the world,” the Italy captain told reporters. “We want to show that the difference in quality between us is not as big as Spain showed in the final a year ago. We are not inferior.”
While the 35-year-old is confident his team has the talent to compete, he has plenty of respect for what Spain have accomplished in the last five years.
“Since winning the 2008 European Championship, Spain experienced a succession of incredible successes," Buffon said. “Even if they did not win that day, they would have won it in 2010 at the World Cup and the European Championship in 2012, because the belief is important in their squad, but so is the quality of the players.”
Italy has looked shaky in defense thus far in the tournament, conceding four goals in its last outing against Brazil, and Buffon admits he is hoping for improvement in the semifinal.
“I've never been one to hide behind a finger," Buffon said. "Without a doubt I could do better against Brazil, even though I still did good things. Being the goalkeeper, however, I know that puts the emphasis only on my mistakes and my lack of attention.”